Mapping architectural engineering students' learning in group design exercises

Geza Fischl, Kaj Granath, Jonathan Bremner

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


Architectural engineering encompasses urban planning and architectural design exercises that are part of professional development. In contrast to the engineering discipline, the regularity of well-defined familiar tasks does not predominate in a design studio. However, to be able to work along with a larger pool of professionals and increase the potential for creative problem solving it is imperative to provide an engineering education that challenges the conventions of its framework. Consequently, students encountering design problems without prior experience need to assume responsibility for their interpretation of the problems in which they are being challenged. The aim of this pilot study was to survey, describe and analyze the problem-solving approach among undergraduate students in relation to their control strategies and successive learning. The study was completed in Jönköping, Sweden. In an online survey (N=32) using a convenient sampling, students’ locus of control (LOC) were measured in three school years in the undergraduate program to assess the perceived control over their life situation. Additionally, three focus group interviews were performed to shed light on how individual learning modes manifested on a different LOC level and in respective school years. Descriptive statistics showed a trend that students’ LOC is moving from external to be more internal by the advancement in their studies. Accordingly, they would over time develop a preference for group design exercises that are more problem oriented, rather than project-based, thus matching a more internal LOC. Although the trend was clear, statistically significant differences were not found between the measured variables (LOC, gender, age, school year, subject major), possibly due to the low sample size. The focus group interviews supported the trend, where students’ initial frustration over unclear instructions and dependence on external control gradually shifts toward a more reflective attitude and a greater feeling of internal control, individual competence and professional development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International CDIO Conference
PublisherCDIO Initiative
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event14th International CDIO Conference: CDIO 2018 - Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Kanazawa, Japan
Duration: 28 Jun 201802 Jul 2018 (conference website) (conference proceedings) (conference program)

Publication series

ISSN (Electronic)2002-1593


Conference14th International CDIO Conference
Abbreviated titleInnovations in engineering education
OtherThe “CDIO Initiative” was conceived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and three Swedish universities in 2000, with the aim of providing high-quality education that balances “science as the basis of engineering” and “practical skills as the basis of technology”. Currently, more than 140 universities in 38 countries are participating in CDIO, which has become the universal standard in engineering education. Please see the CDIO page for further information.
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping architectural engineering students' learning in group design exercises'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this