Characterization of the Student Perception of Flexibility in the Manufacturing Domain: Highlighting the Patterns of Effective Learning
2014 (English)In: Proceeding of: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference - INTED 2014, At Valencia, Spain, Valencia, 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
The word “flexibility” is often abused and not univocally understood within the manufacturing science domain and in particular in the context of industrial automation. Since the raise of industrial robots in the 1960’, different researchers and practitioners have been using such a common word with different meanings. This has generated a very articulated concept, spanning from capability of a system to increase the production volumes to ability to handle product mix variation. Several authors have tried to count the current meanings of such a word in manufacturing and someone arrived to more than 50!. In spite of this fuzziness in both the definition and scope, the concept of flexibility remain one of the cornerstones in the curriculum of industrial and production engineers, and it appears in many courses along the bachelor and master studies. The apparent paradox that higher education institutions have to teach things that are not even well-defined and agreed in the scientific world is, in fact, quite a usual practice. In order to clarify what is, or should be, learnt this work analyzes first the established literature to extract a “working” characterization of the flexibility concept. The resulting understanding is then used to represent the experts’ perception of the topic which in turn is used as ideal level of understanding that a student should achieve her/himself when studying such a concept.
The second phase of the work aims at disclosing and classifying the multifaceted perceptions of flexibility that two different classes of industrial engineering students have after two courses in which the focal concept of manufacturing flexibility has been presented using two different approaches. The research is based on a phenomenographic analysis of a series of well-designed interviews to the students. The collected data have consequently been structured in a finite set of clusters according of: (1) the level of understanding of the key concept (as expressed in the Bloom’s taxonomy) and (2) the nature of the shown knowledge (as presented in the SOLO taxonomy). The classification is then the basis for defining an epistemological sound approach to develop suitable teaching and learning activities to ensure optimal acquisition of the concept of flexibility.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Flexibility, Industrial Automation, Phenomenography
Research subject Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-142916OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-142916DiVA: diva2:704975
8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference INTED 2014
FunderXPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research, G62523
QC 201403172014-03-132014-03-132014-06-13Bibliographically approved