Exploring the Influence of Intuition on Engineering Education and Practice

Guest lecture by Associate Professor Adam Carberry: Exploring the Influence of Intuition on Engineering Education and Practice


12.10.2022 kl. 11.00 - 12.00


Abstract: Engineers make decisions that have critical consequences as they engage in designing, developing, and building solutions to complex problems. Avoiding engineering mistakes requires not only technical knowledge but also the ability to rapidly assess whether a solution is feasible and appropriate. Intuition (often referred to as a "gut feeling") is a defining characteristic of experts developed primarily through experience. Practicing engineers regularly rely on their intuition in navigating their roles, but justifying a decision based on intuition is viewed as unacceptable without data. This perception of intuition’s value in practice is an underlying reason for intuition being discouraged in the engineering classroom.

Our team has uncovered an engineering-specific definition for intuition as subconsciously leveraging experience to: 1) assess a present situation or 2) predict a future outcome. We frame this definition through an emergent Leveraging Intuition Toward Engineering Solutions (LITES) Framework. Findings from qualitative interviews with engineering professionals and quantitative assessments of engineering students’ use of intuition inform our definition and the LITES Framework with the intent to provide engineering educators with the insights to promote intuition in the classroom. Our work on defining intuition is supported by the National Science Foundation (EEC 1927149 and 1927250).

Biography: Adam Carberry is an Associate Professor in The Polytechnic School within Arizona State University’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. He currently serves as the Graduate Program Chair for the Engineering Education Systems & Design (EESD) Ph.D. program and directs the Seeking Transformations in Engineering Education through Research (STEER) Lab. His primary areas of interest within the broad discipline of engineering education include: 1) developing new classroom innovations and assessment techniques for pre-college and college students, 2) identifying new ways to empirically understand engineering student and educator experiences, 3) understanding effective faculty mentorship, and 4) evaluating large engineering research centers. Funding for his work has come from National Science Foundation, The Lemelson Foundation, The Kern Family Foundation, and The Leona M. and Harry S. Helmsley Charitable Trust. His work has been recognized by an American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Educational Research and Methods Division Apprentice Faculty Award and a Frontiers in Education New Faculty Award. He was also selected as a Fulbright Specialist where he visited École Nationale Supérieure des Mines in Rabat, Morocco. He has served in many volunteer roles through ASEE. Currently, he is the past chair of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN) governing board, Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education, and co-maintainer of the Engineering Education Community Resource wiki.





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