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Webinar Series | Research into Challenge-based Education: Student Development

Tuesday 8 March 2022 / 10.30 - 12.00

4TU.CEE continues the webinar series on challenge-based education at the 4TUs. The new series will discuss research into CBE/CBL practices and will focus on students, lecturers and stake holders. What can these groups learn when participating in CBE/CBL trajectories?

The third session will focus on student learning,  In order to get a better insight into the development of students in the Challenge based learning environment we will discuss 3 researches into student learning from two of the universities of technology.  


Caroline Wehrmann and Casper Smits (TU Delft)

Research Transdisciplinary Learning; Designing a toolbox for lecturers to facilitate transdisciplinary learning in engineering education.

There is a growing body of evidence that involving students as partners in the collaborative design settings with external stakeholders can enhance higher education experiences for students, staff and society. In our 4TU- CEE research, we investigate transdisciplinary learning in the context of design-based courses wherein students, lecturers and practitioners collaborate on complex, real-life, socio-technical challenges. Our goal is to design a toolbox for lecturers to facilitate students' transdisciplinary collaboration and learning.

Across the design phases of the course (Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver), we can see that different types of uncertainty form a barrier to the transdisciplinary learning process for all stakeholders involved. These uncertainties must be identified and critically reflected on to level these barriers in the learning process. We designed a prototype of the tool that would allow for this type of reflection.

Today, we would like to share how we used our prototype to make students aware of and increase their transdisciplinary skills. The results of this prototype and its validation will provide design principles for our educators' toolbox for transdisciplinary learning environments.

Birgit Pepin, Ayse Kilic, Zeger-jan Kock, and Ulises Salinas Hernandez (TU/e)

Researching the learning experiences of applied mathematics students in a Challenge-based experience

In the TU/e vision on education, Challenge-based Education (CBE) plays a central role in educating future engineers. However, for applied mathematics, the introduction of CBE may not be as straightforward as for other engineering disciplines. At the same time, some courses provide opportunities for learning mathematics that lean on a CBE approach. When introducing CBE in mathematics, it is essential to consider the TU/e-wide vision statements and listen to the teachers' and course designers' voices, and most significantly, to the students' voices concerning their learning experiences in such innovative ways courses. In this seminar, we will report on the case study of a modelling course. In terms of data collection strategy, we used a mixed-methods approach to investigate students' learning experiences in a monodisciplinary CBE-oriented master course for mathematics students, the mathematics "Modelling week". This presentation will discuss a promising theoretical framework to analyze the data and share preliminary results.

Gunter Bombaerts and Diana Martin (TU/e)

Challenge-based learning ethics courses

The presenters start from existing experiences with courses at TU/e and will focus on two related key elements.

(1)   They discuss how the differences in the types of courses (ethics only course vs interdisciplinary courses; small vs large; first year’s vs other courses; single courses vs course sequence) have an impact on how CBL is developed in the courses.

(2)   They use van den Akker’s spider web to analyse what particularities emerge in CBL when ethics is involved. All the course components (“rationale”, “aims and objectives”, “content”, “learning activities”, “teacher role”, “materials and resources”, “grouping”, “location”, “time” and “assessment”) in an ethics CBL course have commonalities with CBL courses without specific ethics learning goals, but they also need specific considerations in the design.

Gunter and Diana discuss both these commonalities and specificities. After an introduction, they open the floor for further discussion.


Practical details


8 March 2022


10.30 -12.00h




Free of charge for anyone working at 4TU.
Please note that the webinar is initially meant for 4TU staff.