Project-based education in combination with problem-based learning has been very successful, and has contributed to the popularity of engineering design education among students at technical universities. The close connection to industrial problems by the use of industry-connected projects has boosted this popularity still further and to get an insight of future working environments after graduation is very inspiring for the students.
The curriculum of the Machine Design capstone course at KTH Department of Machine Design covers the whole process from idea generation to manufacturing and testing a final prototype. A major part of the course consists of project work where students develop a product prototype in close cooperation with an industrial partner or with a research project at the department. This means that a major part of the course uses project-based learning as a teaching strategy. In addition, a model-based design methodology is introduced which enables the students to evaluate and “experience” many different behaviors of the product using digital models in a virtual environment. In this way, students can see that many undesirable concepts and flaws can be avoided even before a prototype is manufactured.
This paper evaluates the use and learning outcome of model-based design in a capstone course in the Engineering Design MSc program at KTH Department of Machine Design. The approach has been used during a period of three years and the effect on the students’ learning has been evaluated by a questionnaire after each course. I this paper we compare the results of these questionnaires and discuss implications and general conclusions about this learning approach.