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Students' perception on learning methods in engineering disciplines

Borja Vidal (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
M. Loreto Fenollosa Ribera (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
Francisco Javier Ribal (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
Pablo Sanchis (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
Jaime García-Rupérez (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
M. Amparo Bes-Piá (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
E. Blasco-Tamarit (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
Patricia Noguera (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
María José Muñoz-Portero (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)
Luis A. Tortajada (Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 2 June 2021

Issue publication date: 31 May 2022

90

Abstract

Purpose

This study explores the preferences for learning methods among the students of seven engineering disciplines in a Spanish technical university. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the students' views and from them contribute to the knowledge of the effectiveness of learning methodologies.

Design/methodology/approach

An online anonymous questionnaire survey was adopted to collect students' perceptions. Seven learning methods were compared in seven engineering degrees. The authors sampled 1660 students, and 426 completed responses were analysed. In addition to a descriptive analysis of the results, a multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) was performed using R data processing software.

Findings

It was found that project-based learning and problem-based learning were perceived as the more effective ones. MCA identified response patterns between the preference and the efficiency of learning methods showing that students can be classified into two groups according to their preferred level of activeness in learning.

Research limitations/implications

The study focusses on a single technical university and not all engineering degrees could be sampled. However, five different engineering fields were studied and no significant differences among them were found.

Practical implications

The results add up to the known literature showing that students have different learning needs and consequently they perceive some methods as more effective. Instructors can use this information to strengthen their learning activities. Results also suggest that students can be classified into two groups in relation to their level of activeness in learning. This can also help to enhance general student motivation if two paths with different levels of activeness are planned.

Originality/value

No previous studies have compared several learning methods in different engineering fields. Thus, this study contributes to fill this gap and contributes to the body of evidence around learning methodologies from the perspective of students.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Disclosure statement: The authors report no conflict of interest.

Citation

Vidal, B., Fenollosa Ribera, M.L., Ribal, F.J., Sanchis, P., García-Rupérez, J., Bes-Piá, M.A., Blasco-Tamarit, E., Noguera, P., Muñoz-Portero, M.J. and Tortajada, L.A. (2022), "Students' perception on learning methods in engineering disciplines", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 946-957. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-01-2021-0041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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