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Abstract: In many countries around the world engineering education is currently based on an outcomes-based approach to curriculum design, student evaluation and program accreditation. The paper analyses the concept of outcomes-based education coming to the conclusion that this approach implicitly rests on a fundamentally reductionist paradigm. However, an earlier study indicates that the formation of engineering competence can not be fully understood within the current instructional framework. This leads to the hypothesis that engineering education has to be viewed as a complex system. On this basis, the paper discusses the general characteristics of complex systems and analyses to what extend they apply to engineering education. With this perspective results from an ongoing study into Accidental Competency acquisition in engineering education are presented in form of illustrative quotes and a contextual model. Accidental competency formation is defined as learning that emerges from the complex interaction of learning activities with other elements surrounding the curriculum. The results of the empirical study are discussed from a systems perspective with regard to their usefulness and implications for the improvement of engineering education

To cite this article: Walther, Joachim and Radcliffe, David. Accidental Competencies: Is Engineering Education Simply a Complex System? [online]. In: Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference (17th : 2006 : Auckland University of Technology). Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: Creativity, Challenge, Change; Partnerships in Engineering Education. Auckland, N.Z.: Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 2006: [730]-[741]. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=497363622818163;res=IELENG> ISBN: 9780473118815. [cited 27 Sep 16].

Personal Author: Walther, Joachim; Radcliffe, David; Source: In: Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference (17th : 2006 : Auckland University of Technology). Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: Creativity, Challenge, Change; Partnerships in Engineering Education. Auckland, N.Z.: Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 2006: [730]-[741]. Document Type: Conference Paper, Research ISBN: 9780473118815 Subject: Competency-based education; Engineering--Study and teaching; Education--Curricula; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia, email: j.walther@uq.edu.au
(2) University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia, email: d.radcliffe@uq.edu.au

Database: Engineering Collection