Learning outcomes of a project-based capstone product development course
Editor: Miko Laakso, Kalevi Ekman
Author: Rautavaara, Erika; Taajamaa, Ville; Lyytikainen, Viljami; Salakoski, Tapio
Institution: 1: Aalto University, Finland; 2: University of Turku, Finland
Section: Education and teaching of design, product development, and innovation
Product development and front-end project management with an emphasis on learning-by doing educational philosophy is seen as one possible answer for closing the gap between industry expectations for graduate’s working life skills and the actual learning enhancement provided by the academia. The question is not so much why, nor it is what. For these we have had an abundance of answers since early 1960’s. The question is how? How to implement hands-on doing focusing on relevant working life skills such as project working capabilities in a teamwork setting, design thinking and communication skills, in addition to the actual disciplinary knowledge. This paper reports preliminary results from a work-in-progress study that analyses the course structure, teaching philosophy and learning outcomes of a course that aims to provide relevant product development, team– based project working and project management skills in an open-ended environment to students. The key research question was what kind of learning outcomes were achieved during the course. Secondly how do these results reflect on the intended learning outcomes. According to the preliminary findings the courses main learning outcome is that the students have been able to construct meaning for different processes and components in order to achieve successful team–based project work in a product development context. Processes and components include areas such as team work, project management, communication, doing instead of passively following, working remotely and the importance of prototyping.