Part of the
Centre for
Engineering Education
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Centre for
Engineering Education


+31(0)6 48 27 55 61


Project introduction and background information

Professional engineers need to possess skills of critical thinking, where they are able to interpret data from different sources, to make decisions supported by evidence, and to recognize that knowledge is context-dependent. To develop this level of thinking, or in other words, sophisticated beliefs contrary to naïve beliefs, the curriculum needs to be designed in a way that helps their engineering ways of thinking to broaden up as they progress through the curriculum. Challenge-based learning (CBL) is one way students get confronted with real-life cases, where the class is designed to create experiential learning situations that encourage the process of solving a real life challenge in an interdisciplinary manner.

In order to design an effective CBL learning environment, and further study the connection between CBL learning elements and students engineering way of thinking, a systemic analysis of the university ecosystem is needed, which is the focus of our study. We aim to study epistemological perspectives, which are perspectives we hold to be true about knowldge and knowing, on the individual level, a classroom level, and a larger curriculum level as captured in the research question:

How can engineering epistemology of students, teachers and stakeholders in a collaborative process in CBL be understood and stimulated systematically?

Objective and expected outcomes

  • Advancing methodological research on instruments that measure epistemological perspectives
  • Mapping CBL learning environment characteristics to the impact it has on epistemological development
  • Gaining an understanding of external stakeholders motivations to participate in CBL