Using multidimensional scaling to organize expected outcomes of engineering education

Hadgraft, R, Tilstra, H and Thebuwana, H 2014, 'Using multidimensional scaling to organize expected outcomes of engineering education', in Andrew Bainbridge-Smith, Ziming Tom Qi, Gourab Sen Gupta (ed.) Proceedings of the 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : Engineering the Knowledge Economy: Collaboration, Engagement and Employability (AAEE 2014), Wellington, New Zealand, 8 - 10 December 2014, pp. 856-866.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Using multidimensional scaling to organize expected outcomes of engineering education
Author(s) Hadgraft, R
Tilstra, H
Thebuwana, H
Year 2014
Conference name AAEE 2014: Engineering the Knowledge Economy: Collaboration, Engagement and Employability
Conference location Wellington, New Zealand
Conference dates 8 - 10 December 2014
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : Engineering the Knowledge Economy: Collaboration, Engagement and Employability (AAEE 2014)
Editor(s) Andrew Bainbridge-Smith, Ziming Tom Qi, Gourab Sen Gupta
Publisher Massey University
Place of publication Palmerston North, New Zealand
Start page 856
End page 866
Total pages 11
Abstract Background: Standard setting organisations such as the Australian Qualifications Framework Council, Engineers Australia, the Australian Computer Society and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) all generate comprehensive lists of expected outcomes, which must be demonstrated at accreditation time. Purpose: In this exploration we take as a given the richness of the work that has gone into the generation of these lists of expected outcomes. However, we invite the reader to reconsider the way these outcomes can be organized and also to consider the implications for program and curriculum design. Design/Method: 17 academic staff were asked to judge the proximity of the 16 Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies relative to the other 15 (120 evaluations each). These data sets were then processed using the multidimensional scaling algorithm, Permap, to produce a series of perceptual 2D maps of the relatedness of each of the 16 competencies. An average map was also produced. Results: There was a consistent view that the design elements of competency (2.1, 2.2 and 2.3) lie at the centre of the perceptual maps, with 2.4 (project management not far away). These elements relate most closely to all the other elements of competency. Two other clusters were clearly identified: the STEM cluster (1.1, 1.2, 1.3) and a 'social science' cluster of communication, teamwork and self management. Other elements of competency were less clearly aligned. Conclusions: Initial analysis and modelling of the perceived relationships between the many expected outcomes of engineering education suggests a rethink for program design, with a focus on engineering design. The perceptual maps raise questions of organisation of the competencies; the current three groupings used in the Competency Standard do not reflect the relative importance of the competency clusters.
Subjects Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Engineering competencies
multidimensional scaling
threshold learning outcomes
project based learning.
Copyright notice Copyright © R. Hadgraft, H. Tilstra, H. Thebuwana, 2014
ISBN 9780473304287
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