Looking Beyond Content: Skill development for engineers
Edward F. Redish and Karl A. Smith
Current concerns over reforming engineering education have focused attention on helping students develop skills and an adaptive expertise. Phenomenological guidelines for instruction along these lines can be understood as arising out of an emerging theory of thinking and learning built on results in the neural, cognitive, and behavioral sciences. We outline this framework and consider some of its implications for one example: developing a more detailed understanding of the specific skill of using mathematics in modeling physical situations. This approach provides theoretical underpinnings for some best-practice instructional methods designed to help students develop this skill and provides guidance for further research in the area.