About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5933-5942
Publication year: 2020
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1602

Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain

BECOMING A SKILLED ENGINEER FASTER? REFLECTIONS ON A PROFESSIONAL TALENT PROGRAM

U. Lundh Snis1, A. Sandblad2

1University West (SWEDEN)
2Combitech AB (SWEDEN)
A recent genre of work-integrated learning (WIL) research has explored work-learning challenges with the customary context of inquiry being the acquisition of skills in work practice. In this article we account for how professionals’ reflections of learning experiences from a talent program in a global consultancy company are perceived and reported. The company's intention with the talent program is to help the participants in their development to become skilled engineers and consultants, so they can become more efficient in their work. The challenges of engineering professional skills are not so much about solving difficult technical problems, but more about human interaction, collaboration and responsibility, which young engineers are generally not trained in or educated for. They have good theoretical and technical knowledge from school, but lack practical experience.

The core method in this talent program is “the dialogue seminar method”. In parallel with having their first consulting assignments they undergo this program. It is conducted as a series of seminars on various themes linked to professional life, where the participants in text and dialogue reflect on their experiences from the work they do. The method is scientifically developed for reflecting on practical experiences and the specific nature of such experience-based knowledge. The point of departure in this research is that practice cannot only be regarded as applied theory. Characteristic of practical knowledge is that it is largely inarticulate. To make this implicit form of knowledge accessible, research has applied a combination of history of ideas and epistemological texts, as well as literary classics.

We base our findings on the professionals’ written essays, which are the final reports of the talent program. The essays represent a step in consolidating the professionals’ gained insights and their questions and reflections on issues related to the professional practice. Questions they reason about are for example: What insights and thoughts do you now have about your professional knowledge? How did you develop yourself during the program? We have chosen to include a sample of nine (9) groups out of 30 groups that have followed the program during the last decade. From these nine (9) groups two (2) essays were randomly selected for in-depth analysis presented in this article, i.e 18 essays constitutes this study.

Over all, the essays provide a try to advance a common understanding of the engineer's professional knowledge and skills and how it progresses. We will pay particular attention to the progression of confidence, judgement and agentic reasoning when reflecting on what has been learned and changed during their training process. In the findings we discuss expressions and insights from individuals’ own reflections and agentic stands on their learning process when engaging with, securing and reconciling their on-going professional practice. The contribution will be a better understanding of the experience development of young engineers during their first time in their professional life, i.e. the first stage in building their professional experience and ability of judgment. We sum up implications for designing improved work-integrated learning methods, such as talent programs within professional organizations.
@InProceedings{LUNDHSNIS2020BEC,
author = {Lundh Snis, U. and Sandblad, A.},
title = {BECOMING A SKILLED ENGINEER FASTER? REFLECTIONS ON A PROFESSIONAL TALENT PROGRAM},
series = {14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2020 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-17939-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2020.1602},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2020.1602},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {2-4 March, 2020},
year = {2020},
pages = {5933-5942}}
TY - CONF
AU - U. Lundh Snis AU - A. Sandblad
TI - BECOMING A SKILLED ENGINEER FASTER? REFLECTIONS ON A PROFESSIONAL TALENT PROGRAM
SN - 978-84-09-17939-8/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2020.1602
PY - 2020
Y1 - 2-4 March, 2020
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2020 Proceedings
SP - 5933
EP - 5942
ER -
U. Lundh Snis, A. Sandblad (2020) BECOMING A SKILLED ENGINEER FASTER? REFLECTIONS ON A PROFESSIONAL TALENT PROGRAM, INTED2020 Proceedings, pp. 5933-5942.
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