Research Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


Aim Design-based engineering learning (DBEL) offers a potentially valuableapproach to engineering education, but its mechanism of action has yet to beverifiedby empirical studies. Accordingly, the present study aimed to establish whether DBELproduces better learning outcomes, thereby building a strong, empirically groundedcase for further research into engineering education.

Methods To build a more comprehensive model of design-based engineeringlearning, the variables of cognitive engagement (the mediator) and modesof engagement (the moderator) were introduced to build a theoretical processmodel. Questionnaires and multiple linear regression analysis were used to verify themodel.

Results and discussion All four features of DBEL (design practice, interactivereflection, knowledge integration, and circular iteration) were found to exert significant and positive effects on learning outcomes. Moreover, cognitive engagement wasfound to both fully and partially mediate the relationships between these featuresandthe outcomes of engineering learning; under two different modes of engagement, thepositive effects of the learning features on cognitive engagement differed significantly.

Conclusions The paper concluded the following: (1) a design-basedlearningapproach can enhance engineering students’ learning outcomes, (2) cognitiveengagement mediates between design-based engineering learning andlearningoutcomes (3) a systematic mode of engagement produces better learningoutcomesthan a staged modes of engagement.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.