Follow-groups, Enhancing Learning Potential at Project Exams

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In the Problem Based, Project Oriented Learning Program of Industrial Design Engineering at AAU students work and are examined/evaluated in groups. Following a period of a 6 years of ban on group-based exams by the government, the return of the group-based exam at Universities in 2014 has significantly (re-) raised the learning potential at exams by allowing the students in the group to hear and build on the questions to and answers from the other group members. In Denmark all exams are inherently open and public acts, but traditionally however, the exams usually only include the group, a censor and the supervisor. Having the group based exam re-introduced sparked the interest for even further utilizing the exam situation for enhancing the learning outcome for each project and at the same time promote a more open atmosphere. Can the students learn even more and/or put their own project learning into perspective by seeing other project exams? So in order to investigate whether there was a possibility to further enhance the learning potential and understanding of the learning outcome the study board for the Architecture & Design program opened for a trial period for 2 semesters for voluntarily organizing follow-groups if the semester organizer found it interesting. A follow-group means that each group on a semester should attend the entire examination of another group, including presentation, discussion and evaluation. The actual grading is confidential and for the examined group only, unless they agree to it being public. This paper examines the effect on the students’ perception on the exam situation, the learning outcome and understanding of the evaluation when having the opportunity to follow the entire examination and evaluation of a peer-group. By comparing 2.MSc Industrial Design Engineering students trying the follow-group format in the project exam summer 2015 with 6BSc Industrial Design Engineering students having normal ‘closed’ exams in the summer 2015 their answers indicate significant difference in some parts of their perception of the exam situation. 4 aspects were investigated through a survey; 1) The perception of the exam as a learning situation in order to establish a baseline for their understanding of the exam in general. 2) Their understanding of their own grade and 3) their understanding of the grade in relation to the learning objective. Finally 4) their understanding of their project evaluation in relation to the other projects in the class. The investigation shows that following another group’s exam significantly heightens the percentage of students that understand the evaluation of their project related to the other projects in the class. It also has minor positive effects on their understanding of the relation to the learning objective, but no significant effect on their understanding of the exam situation as a learning situation that is already very high. The conclusion on the investigation supports the assumption that students would benefit on seeing each other’s exam, and that it significantly increases their understanding of the own performance and project. It also represents a sense of closure after having followed their peer students project during the semester having the opportunity to see their final version and the expert evaluation by supervisor and censor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign Education, Collaboration & Cross-disciplinarity : The 18th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education
EditorsErik Bohemia, Lyndon Buck, Kaare Eriksen, Ahmed Kovacevic, Nis Ovesen, Christian Tollestrup
PublisherDesign Society
Publication date8 Sep 2016
ISBN (Print)978-1-904670-78-0
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2016
Eventthe 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16) - Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 8 Sep 20169 Sep 2016


Conferencethe 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16)
LocationAalborg University


  • Exam
  • Follow-groups
  • Peer Learning

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    Tollestrup, C. H. T. (2016). Follow-groups, Enhancing Learning Potential at Project Exams. In E. Bohemia, L. Buck, K. Eriksen, A. Kovacevic, N. Ovesen, & C. Tollestrup (Eds.), Design Education, Collaboration & Cross-disciplinarity: The 18th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (1 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 448-453). Design Society.