Systematic creativity, challenge-based instruction and active learning: A study of its impact on freshman engineering students
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This research shows an experiment using systematic creativity tools, challenge-based instruction and active learning methods with freshman mechanical engineering students during the course Introduction to Engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey Campus. The objective is to identify ways of impacting on the creative profile and learning abilities of engineering students during their professional formation. The students were divided into two groups: one experimental group and one control group. The experimental group received an introduction to the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) and was asked to identify and start working on the solution of challenging engineering-projects based on active learning methods, while the control group took the course in the traditional way, typically taught in a lecture-based format. Methods for developing teams and for transitioning from worked problems to independent problem solving skills were also explored. The initial data regarding social and demographic characteristics, background, learning ability, and the creativity profile of both groups were recorded and analyzed, and showed that both groups were very similar at the outset. This allowed us to identify the impact of exposing the experimental group to systematic creativity tools, challenge-based instruction, and active learning methods and compare the evolution of the students belonging to each group. The expectation was that the students in the experimental group would enhance their creative and critical thinking skills during their educational endeavor. © 2008 TEMPUS Publications.