Challenge Based Learning in the 4IR: Results on the Application of the Tec21 Educational Model in an Energetic Efficiency Improvement to a Rustic Industry

  • Juan Manuel Reyna-González
  • Alicia Ramírez-Medrano
  • Jorge Membrillo-HernándezEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1134)


The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the result of an integration and compound effects of multiple “exponential technologies”, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology and nanomaterials. The 4IR extends the paradigm of the industrial revolution to a future in which the most familiar exponential technology is the significant increase in the power of the computer and the decrease in the cost of storage. When these exponential digital technologies are combined with other technologies that expand in a similar way (biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence), a convergence called “singularity” is created. The 4IR can also allow technological solutions to the environmental threats that arise from the accumulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the massive factories that arise from our first two industrial revolutions. In this article, we report on the results of the application of a challenge based learning teaching technique with students of the Sustainable Development Engineering Program of the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico. The challenge consisted on the application of engineering solutions to the energetic improvement of a rural artisan production factory of Mezcal, a very popular beverage in Mexico. In the first instance, the areas of energy opportunity were evaluated. The students determined that the production of mezcal decreases drastically after a few weeks of operation because the water used in the cooling process, which is in a closed circuit, reaches temperatures above 60 °C in the tank where it condenses the mezcal The cooling system was modified to increase the mixing and increase the heat transfer coefficient. Additionally a home cooling tower was built in atmospheric natural circulation to control the temperature of the cooling water that is stored in the cistern. With these modifications it was possible to maintain the temperature of the cooling water at 22 °C, which increased the production of mezcal, favoring the economic sustainability of the producer, and decreased the amount of firewood used in the kiln, which helps reduce the impact in environmental pollution. The students evaluated the challenge in a positive way, highlighting the importance of having a real and practical challenge. Competencies were evaluated with precise instruments. Our results confirmed that the use of CBL is a novel scheme to acquire competences and cover contents within the programmatic sequences of engineering education.


Tec21 model Educational innovation 4IR Sustainability Higher education CBL 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of Writing Lab, TecLabs and Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico in the production of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Manuel Reyna-González
    • 1
  • Alicia Ramírez-Medrano
    • 1
  • Jorge Membrillo-Hernández
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Departamento de BioingenieríaTecnologico de Monterrey Campus Ciudad de MéxicoMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Writing Lab, TecLabsVicerrectoría de Investigación y Transferencia de Tecnología, Tecnologico de MonterreyMonterreyMexico

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