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Engineers and product designers are concerned with the design, development, implementation and operation of a wide range of systems. If a system is to perform optimally, all of the component parts must communicate and cooperate effectively. Technologists must therefore have an appreciation for both, the functionality of a single component of that system and the interoperability, or impact of that component within the context of the system. Scientific first principles underpin all aspects of technical education. The application of scientific knowledge at component level impacts at system level. Practical or laboratory-based activity has long been used as a complimentary pedagogy to that of traditional lectures. Laboratory offerings are conventionally conducted on a single piece of apparatus or at component level, rather than at a system level. Interfaces which help convey scientific principles in action, within the context of a system, must thus be regarded as a demarcation in technical education delivery.
This paper outlines the novel pedagogies developed by a UNESCO award winning European training initiative which created both hard and soft vehicles for learning, for level 5 learners on the European Qualification Framework. The paper describes an authentic systems-based laboratory interface to aid the lecturer in the dissemination of scientific principles, within the context of a system; as well as novel instructional modes designed to improve the soft skills of the learner. The paper further outlines, how the pedagogies developed, can be implemented within the learning curricula of higher level programmes within the wider engineering and product design community.
Ahern, C., NcGrath, M., : EU-OPTIMUS – A CASE STUDY OF A HOLISTIC SYSTEMS-APPROACH PEDAGOGY IN TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION, 2013. Engineering and Product Design Conference, Dublin.