An engineering curriculum not only provides solid scientific and technical skills, research and design oriented skills are increasingly becoming far more important. Like all academic educational programs at KU Leuven, a learning trajectory stimulating the development of research and design oriented skills is of fundamental importance in engineering education. The present paper is focused on such a learning trajectory belonging to the Electronics-ICT engineering program at the KU Leuven Bruges Campus.

Conducting research in engineering education refers to the systematic method used to identify the research area, to determine research problems, to formulate research questions, objectives and hypotheses. It is important to collect and analyze data and to reach conclusions towards the formulated problem. Fourteen research and design oriented skills, inspired by a paper of Kardash [1], are selected and rephrased as the mandatory learning outcomes. Finally, they are integrated into the educational program.

In this paper, we investigate to what extend these 14 skills are realized in the considered learning trajectory from the teaching staff point of view. Since these 14 skills formulated by Kardash are mainly adapted to pure science students, they do not cover all essential learning outcomes for an engineering program. Therefore, the existing skills are ‘adapted’ to the more technical and application oriented – although with a solid scientific foundation – profile of an ‘industrial engineer’. Since the learning trajectory belongs to the curriculum of the academic bachelor and master students studying Electronics-ICT, electronic oriented skills and ICT oriented skills are formulated separately.

In general, using different teaching methods, a gradual increase of the importance of these skills has been observed as the students go through the learning trajectory. This approach results in the complete integration of all skills in the final master thesis. Indeed, spread all over the curriculum in a well-balanced and coherent way, these skills are learned through a wide range of teaching methods. Besides the traditional theory lectures, a broad scope of laboratories is designed and implemented in the educational practice, i.e. classical elementary laboratory sessions, a multidisciplinary project work, problem based laboratories containing open smaller assignments, specialized project laboratories and a final master thesis.

According to the ‘Aalborg model’, a range of three project types distinguished by different student-centered approaches are introduced in these teaching methods [2,3]. During their academic career, students experience a unique sequence of up-to-date learning activities, being the backbone of a methodical and didactic responsible learning trajectory.

[1] C.M. Kardash, Evaluation of an Undergraduate Research Experience: Perceptions of Undergraduate Interns and their Faculty Mentors, Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 191 – 201, 2000.
[2] A. Kolmos, Reflections on Project Work and Problem-based Learning, European Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 141 – 148, 1996.
[3] K. Edström and A. Kolmos, PBL and CDIO: complementary models for engineering education development, European Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 39, no. 5, pp. 539-555, 2014.