Learning how to work together to accomplish shared goals is at the center of the engineering design process. The cooperative learning model, adapted to engineering education by Dr. Karl Smith, offers a powerful interactive educational approach that emphasizes interdependence and accountability. Dr. Smith shares with us the theoretical background of the cooperative learning model, unpacks its core elements, and discusses practical applications of this model in large engineering classrooms.
Dr. Karl A. Smith is Cooperative Learning Professor of Engineering Education, School of Engineering Education, at Purdue University. He is also Morse-Alumni Distinguished University Teaching Professor and Emeritus Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research and development interests include building research and innovation capabilities in engineering education; faculty and graduate student professional development; the role of cooperation in learning and design; problem formulation and modeling; and project and knowledge management. Karl adapted the cooperative learning model to engineering education. His work on cooperative learning has helped thousands of faculty build knowledge, skills and confidence for involving their students in interactive and cooperative learning both during class time and outside of class. The effects of the work are significant in terms of creating a sense of belonging and membership in a community, as well as much more engaged and deep learning.