Australia needs more creative graduates. Over the past decade, the Australian economy has become increasingly dependent on the mining and goods/services sectors. Growth in these areas has largely been at the expense of the manufacturing sector, which was previously the largest sector in the economy. The country’s education system has also progressed disproportionately towards the dominant service sector, mostly at the expense of a progressively-designed, innovative Engineering education system. Traditional Engineering curriculum has inappropriately progressed towards abstractness, rather than the necessary interactive, integrated experience based on practical learning. There is a need to re-evaluate the current educational infrastructure to ensure that emerging professionals are equipped to function and excel in both service and manufacturing capacities.
This project specifically seeks to identify high-impact practices for working with secondary and tertiary students to implement the proposed “Learn-To-Invent” (LTI) methodology to stimulate the higher-order thinking needed to participate as creative inventors of the future.
There is a need to re-evaluate the current educational infrastructure to ensure that emerging professionals are equipped to function and excel in both service and manufacturing capacities. This project of Learn-to-Invent (LTI) will investigate the factors contributing to quality educational experiences that lead to the development of the higher-order thinking skills needed in the field of creative engineering. Methodology used to analyse the current educational infrastructures and environments at the secondary and tertiary levels will include data collocation of basic engineering experiential examples in a document, literature review and interviews, with an emphasis on identifying learners’ experiences with problem solving, learning curve progress from practice to theory by application of experiential and hands on-practice examples, learning by repetition of basic tertiary complex ideas and theories at different academic and research levels, and mentoring and promoting specifically identified talents and preferences.
LTI applications to two secondary school projects are discussed. USQ is in the process of implanting the method to some secondary schools in Queensland with the results to be published in a book. Although the proposed method of LTI is not conceptually new, it has been practiced in various forms and formats at the best and highly ranked schools across the globe. It has proved its success most specifically in traditional experiential and expeditionary schools learning self-inspiration, confidence, motivation, engagement, hard work and persistence leading to creation and invention.
By raising motivation, enthusiasm, passion, encouragement and proactive constructive-competition, LTI learners are directed to promote their imaginations and capabilities beyond the particular learnt experience. The model offers a generic, layered education system to inspire and train future potential and capable students to direct their creative ideas and learn to fulfil and achieve their inventions.
Higher-Order Thinking, Curriculum Alignment, Innovative Pedagogy, High-Impact Practices, From Practice to Theory, Problem-Solving, Experiential Learning