How Soft are “Soft Skills” in Engineering Educations?

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Abstract

Engineering education communities have long recognized that graduates not only need to poses technical knowledge in their chosen disciplines, but also need to be better educated in areas of communication skills, teamwork and leadership. Several studies mention these so-called “soft” skills as increasingly important for future engineers. Such skills include communication, cooperation, creativity, leadership and organization. For many years, the engineering educations at Aalborg University have been working with the Problem Based and Project Organized Learning pedagogical approach. An important part of the first year engineering curriculum is to learn how to make a project and how to work in groups. Part of the study is about getting these “softer” qualifications. Students are given the course “Communication, Learning and Project management (CLP)” and are at the same time working in groups so they can transfer theory into practice. In addition to their project, students have to make a “Process Analysis”, which is an evaluation of their experience of the soft skills or process competences. Results show that “Soft Skills” are hard to learn.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication19th International Conference on Engineering Education (ICEE 2015) : New Technologies and Innovation in Education for Global Business
EditorsKarmela Aleksić-Maslać
Place of PublicationZagreb
PublisherMate Ltd.
Publication date2015
Pages122-129
ISBN (Electronic)978-953-246-232-6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event19th International Conference on Engineering Education - Zagreb, Croatia
Duration: 20 Jul 201524 Jul 2015

Conference

Conference19th International Conference on Engineering Education
CountryCroatia
CityZagreb
Period20/07/201524/07/2015

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Keywords

  • Process Competences
  • Problem based learning
  • project work
  • group work

Cite this

Bruun-Pedersen, J. R., & Kofoed, L. (2015). How Soft are “Soft Skills” in Engineering Educations? In K. Aleksić-Maslać (Ed.), 19th International Conference on Engineering Education (ICEE 2015): New Technologies and Innovation in Education for Global Business (pp. 122-129). Mate Ltd..