Improving and Assessing Self-Awareness of Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Students: a Case Study from Chile

Rodrigo Pascual*, Andrés Pucheu*, Nicolás Bravo*, Catalina Quiñones, Juan Ross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of artificial intelligence and major societal changes have meant disruptive changes in how to achieve education everywhere and at all educational levels. Increasing uncertainty and complexity motivate a reevaluation of the role of engineers in the future society and what skills will matter more in the work market and society. Such a context has inspired and/or forced a series of changes in active learning strategies. This paper describes a course-level learning hybrid methodology that has been implemented in a mechanical-engineering curriculum. The methodology combines concepts from three bodies of knowledge: cultural materialism, social cognitive learning, and transactional distance theory. A blend of activities is proposed to enhance the active learning of students. Through in-class collaborative problem solving, the provision of spaces for reflection and exploration of self-awareness, and a project work that culminates with an open seminar, the aim is to develop technical and the so-called XXI century skills, in particular, self-awareness skills. Such an approach would better prepare students for the ongoing uncertainties and future professional and interpersonal situations. The case study shows promising results that have been documented through self-perception and self-efficacy surveys from students and alumni. The proposed method helped students to achieve the learning outcomes of the course, increased their engagement, and allowed them to exercise their self-awareness as a complement to their development of technical skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-1001
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

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© 2023 TEMPUS Publications.


  • 21st century skills
  • active learning
  • self-awareness
  • social cognitive theory
  • transactional distance


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