ACADEMY FOR EXCELLENCE IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SPRING 2023
The Anatomy of an Educational Innovation: Using Life Stories to Promote Learning in Engineering
Lecturer: Joe Le Doux, Ph.D. | Professor, Dean’s Education Innovation Professor, and the Executive Director of Learning and Training in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University
Date: Thursday, March 23, 2023
Location: 100 Material Science & Engineering Building
There is a paradigm shift underway in engineering education. A shift that is being driven by strong forces external to the field of engineering education, including that what we know and understand is changing and growing at an increasingly rapid pace, that this knowledge is increasingly accessible to anyone who seeks it through internet searches and more recently through artificial intelligence chat bots such as ChatGPT, and that engineering students have a plethora of different career opportunities available to them after they graduate.
How should we educate students in such a world? The traditional pedagogical approach to engineering education – the lecture – is ill equipped to meet these challenges. New approaches are needed and are, in fact, being developed and implemented in some places of engineering education, including through the flipped classroom, the problem-solving studio, and other highly interactive and experiential learning environments. But progress has been slowed by multiple resistances and barriers to change. In addition, most post-lecture innovations have largely focused on improving students’ cognitive competencies. Yet, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in their influential 2012 report “Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century”, identified three competency domains that are critical to develop within 21st century workers: cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. The cognitive domain involves reasoning and memory; the intrapersonal domain involves the capacity to manage one’s behavior and emotions to achieve one’s goals (including learning goals); and the interpersonal domain involves expressing ideas, and interpreting and responding to messages from others. Will the new pedagogical approaches that are being developed to promote cognition also work for promoting interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies? Or will new approaches need to be developed?
During this talk, I will share stories of my lived experiences participating in and leading multiple engineering educational innovations. From these stories, I will share what I see as the anatomy – the structure and function – of successful educational innovations, focusing primarily on a new pedagogical approach designed to improve students’ intrapersonal competencies: story-driven learning. I will conclude with what I’ve learned about how to increase the odds for successful innovation in education. Participants will gain an understanding of story-driven learning and the psychological principles that underpin this approach to teaching, reflect on the role of the learning sciences and design thinking in educational innovation, and leave with ideas about what is needed to innovate successfully in their own teaching and at the institutional level.