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Engineering Cognition: A Process of Knowledge Acquisition and Application

  • Senay PurzerEmail author
  • Tamara J. Moore
  • Emily Dringenberg
Chapter
Part of the Innovations in Science Education and Technology book series (ISET, volume 24)

Abstract

As an integrative and broad field, engineering incorporates many aspects of science, technology, and mathematics fields as well as social sciences. Engineers are often required to develop solutions to design problems in novel situations, with incomplete information and competing criteria. Design, one of the facets of engineering, is a process of managing this ambiguity and complexity through recurring knowledge production. In this chapter, we describe engineering cognition as the interaction and iteration between acquiring knowledge and applying knowledge. It is a novel problem, a novel context, a novel set of users, or combination of these that necessitates knowledge production at the heart of engineering. A challenge in the translation of this model of engineering cognition into teaching is the separation of acquiring knowledge and applying knowledge as two discrete activities rather than a united effort. In this chapter, we present a cohesive model of engineering cognition and discuss how this model can guide teaching, assessment, and curriculum design. Our arguments are built on prior research on teaching and learning engineering in both undergraduate and precollege education. The chapter concludes with recommendations for educators and researchers specifically focusing on the interaction between knowledge acquisition and knowledge application in the context of engineering design problems.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work presented in this manuscript is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant DUE #1348547 and EEC #1150874. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this paper, however, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Senay Purzer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tamara J. Moore
    • 1
  • Emily Dringenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Engineering EducationPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Engineering EducationOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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