Heritage and innovative learning approaches: an alternative approach to engineering education

Robin Clark, Jane Andrews

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Over recent years, the role of engineering in promoting a sustainable society has received much public attention [1] with particular emphasis given to the need to promote the future prosperity and security of society through the recruitment and education of more engineers [2,3]. From an employment perspective, the Leitch Review [4] suggested that ‘generic’ transferable employability skills development should constitute a more substantial part of university education. This paper argues that the global drivers impacting engineering education [5] correlate strongly to those underpinning the Leitch review, therefore the question of how to promote transferable employability skills within the wider engineering curriculum is increasingly relevant.
By exploring the use of heritage in the engineering curriculum as a way to promote learning and engage students, a less familiar approach to study is discussed. This approach moves away from stereotypical notions of the use of information technology as representing the pinnacle of innovation in education.
Taking the student experience as its starting point, the paper draws upon the findings of an exploratory study critically analysing the pedagogical value of using heritage in engineering education. It discusses a teaching approach in which engineering students are taken out of their ‘comfort zone’ - away from the classroom, laboratory and computer, to a heritage site some 100 miles away from the university. The primary learning objective underpinning this approach is to develop students’ transferable skills by encouraging them to consider how to apply theoretical concepts to a previously unexplored situation. By reflecting upon students’ perceptions of the value of this approach, and by identifying how heritage may be utilised as an innovative learning and teaching approach in engineering education, this paper makes a notable contribution to current pedagogical debates in the discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJoint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010
PublisherSociété Eropéenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
EventJoint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010 - Trnava, Slovakia
Duration: 19 Sept 201022 Sept 2010


ConferenceJoint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010


  • heritage
  • innovation
  • student experience


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