Since 1976 the Mechanical Design Center of UNAM (CDMIT) has worked under the premise that experiential learning is a scheme that substantially helps in the task of educating engineers. The work of the CDMIT over the years has yielded good results that have underpinned the education process of its engineering students. Using real-world sponsored projects to integrate engineering knowledge taught in the classroom is not a novel idea though; CDMIT’s method of organizing teams of students essentially follows Kolb’s framework of learning through experience (LTE). The CDMIT implemented a way of bringing real-world engineering projects closer to the students, sometimes emulating such experiences in the classroom and some other times via the realization of senior capstone projects that involve the design and manufacture of automatic machine systems that are developed to either displace intensive manual work needed in production lines or to avoid importing expensive pieces of production equipment. This paper reports on the results and impact that these design projects and application of the LTE model have had on the students’ education. On the other hand, Mexico is also experiencing new opportunities and challenges; the country became the fourth world largest exporter of automobiles not long ago, in 2014. The automotive companies established in Mexico are mainly looking for engineers that have a generic and solid technical background in the core knowledge areas of the curriculum, this allows their training and development departments to better guide young engineers towards specific strategic technical fields that are considered important. The automotive industry boom, besides creating new job positions, has helped Mexico to come onboard the train of future transportation technologies. This trend has been particularly appealing to young engineers who envisage great business opportunities. Under this scenario, the LTE method has therefore to be strengthened in different ways. The second part of the paper explains how the CDMIT is embedding the innovation process in the curricula; the final goal is to help students learn the tools that will allow them to develop a design ability, emphasizing innovation and ingenuity.

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