Enhancing Engineering Education Using Thematic Case-Based Learning


This paper describes a learning architecture for developing a series of case-based studies that are linked by a common thematic basis. The proposed architecture takes into account 'four forces' that influence the development of the thematic cases: namely, Bloom's learning levels, industry cases to add realism to the engineering curriculum, the plug and learn approach, and incorporation of business and management issues in the context of engineering problem-solving. We developed a set of three industry case studies using the lean manufacturing/continuous improvement theme and cover various topics such as total productive maintenance (TPM), reduction of energy waste, process mapping, quality improvement, and various business and managerial issues. This series of cases is intended to immerse students in situations that they could expect to encounter while working in an industrial setting by emphasizing the usage of engineering and business tools and methodologies in the context of a real-life project. We believe that our approach, of developing theme-oriented case studies as opposed to isolated case studies, will help the students to internalize learning. Students are often taught various tools and techniques, but they may not necessarily see if and how these complement each other. We believe that presenting the tools and techniques around a thematic basis will help the students to understand 'how, when, and which' tools and techniques need to be applied in a given context. We also conducted preliminary experiments to ascertain the value of the case studies to the students.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Engineering Education; Thematic Cases

Document Type

Article - Journal

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