Mapping Engineering Students' Learning Outcomes from International Experiences: Designing an Instrument to Measure Attainment of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes

Jiabin Zhu, Juebei Chen, Nathan McNeill, Tianyi Zheng, Qunqun Liu, Bing Chen, Jun Cai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Contribution: This paper developed a diagnostic tool to target various learning outcomes of international programs for engineering students, addressing both broad competencies and engineering specific outcomes. Background: Research has shown that international engineering learning activities provide students with opportunities to develop global competencies. Multiple instruments have been developed to target either students' broad competencies or engineering-related outcomes. While these previous instruments proved to be helpful in linking students' intercultural competencies with outcomes, in measuring engineering specific outcomes, or in assessing engineering students' products or projects, no tool was available to measure the full range of possible learning outcomes from engineering students' international learning experiences. Research Questions: 1) How can an instrument be developed to target various possible outcomes of engineering students from international learning experiences? 2) How does the instrument perform against established standards for validity and reliability? Methodology: Framed in the dimensions of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, a learning outcome survey was compiled based upon previous qualitative research. The instrument was assessed for structural validity by conducting an exploratory factor analysis, and its reliability by testing Cronbach's alpha ( n = 407 ). Results from two sample programs were presented to demonstrate applicability. Fourteen follow-up interviews were analyzed to verify the survey content. Findings: The resulting survey showed a three-factor structure, each corresponding to knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and having high reliability in each dimension (alpha>0.85). Qualitative evidence verified the survey validity by demonstrating the close link between interview results and survey items, and the impact of learning activities on outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8472791
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
Volume62
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
ISSN0018-9359
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • International programs
  • outcomes
  • reliability
  • survey
  • validity

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