Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details



When they enter the workforce engineering graduates must be able to engage collaboratively with others to find solutions to complex engineering challenges. This involves a great deal more than simply solving technical problems traditionally taught in engineering school. The Mechanical Engineering Discipline in Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) has helped students develop real-world engineering skills through a team based Problem Based Learning (PBL) module since 2005. This module, involving third year students, can be particularly challenging since participants can join the third year of the program from other programs or universities and many will not have known each other prior to taking the module. Coming to the module with different prior learning experiences these undergraduate engineering students must engage collaboratively with each other when they undertake the team-based design project.

Over several years the authors have developed an icebreaker game which encourages students to get to know each other. The session, conducted over three hours, welcomes the students and helps them comfortably interact with each other and with the facilitators. This paper describes the development of this activity through the integration of gamification design elements. It goes on to explain how the students must reflect on their experience in this session and how these reflections are then used to frame and scaffold their work for the rest of the module as they consider how to best plan, design, build, and test real machines within the constraints of a strict budget and time limit.