University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 5435-5443
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
According to the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Industrial Engineering is the branch of engineering “concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of people, materials, information, equipment and energy. It draws upon specialized knowledge and skill in the mathematical, physical, and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design, to specify, predict, and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems”. This interdisciplinary branch of engineering involves solid competences on foundational sciences as well as skills on modern themes such as smart factories, lean operations, energy, ergonomics, client-based information systems, multidimensional data analysis, among others. Additionally, the sustainability concerns are mandatory requiring the evaluation of the proposed engineering actions’ impact on the economic, environmental, and societal environments. Teaching these subjects to future industrial engineering professionals is a complex task that relies on the growing utilization of modelling techniques and experiential/active learning approaches. The new virtual generation (V-gen) is more visual, interactive and focused on problem-solving than the former generations so, the undergraduate and graduate programmes in engineering need to adopt new teaching/learning paradigms based on active, experiential, and problem-based approaches.

As widely known, simulation is probably one of the best engineering tools to analyze the performance of complex industrial systems, enabling the development of a computer based replica of the system in analysis with the incorporation of complex interdependencies and uncertainties. Since the main task of industrial engineers is to analyse, design, evaluate, and control those systems regarding lean and sustainability principles, simulation tools enable them to capture the dynamic nature of their systems and to test and evaluate different scenarios through the analysis of a wide set of performance measures.

The exploitation of a modelling technique such as simulation and its utilization to study real-world problems is certainly a successful approach to promote visual, interactive and problem based learning strategies, and to bridge the gap between academia and industry by guiding industrial engineering students through the resolution of real industry (and service) problems using simulation models.

This work describes a particular case of this successful interaction between the academia and the industry accomplished through the simulation courses of the Management and Industrial Engineering (MIE) graduate and undergraduate programmes at University of Aveiro, in Portugal.
Simulation, problem-based approach, active learning.