Helping Students Transition from Group Work to Individual Projects

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


Previous research conducted at Aston University revealed that students found it difficult to transition from group, CDIO-based projects in earlier study years to working independently on their individual final year projects (FYPs). The aim of this study was to explore whether the required skills that we try to develop through group CDIO projects can be sufficiently recognised by students, and whether their confidence levels match staff perceptions regarding those skills. Over two academic years, students in their final year of study across our Mechanical Engineering degree programmes completed questionnaires at the start (QNR1, n=109) and end (QNR2, n=74) of their year in order to obtain their confidence levels in skills related to the CDIO standards. Students were also evaluated on skills by their academic project advisors at the end of their FYPs (n=84). The results show that in almost all cases, students were more confident in their own abilities than staff perceived their abilities to be. The greatest differences were found in ‘Leadership’ (50 % difference) and ‘Critical Thinking’ 41 % difference). Results from QNR2 (2016/17 and 2017/18) showed a reduction in confidence levels by the students, indicating that their self-evaluation of skills had reduced following individual FYPs. This academic year we have attempted to prepare students more for the challenge of the final year and bring their expectations and preparations more into line with the academics’ perspectives. The results show that student confidence levels were lower this year in QNR1, reflecting a more realistic outlook on their abilities. We also explored what other factors affect student confidence and abilities, including their active use of the CDIO process.
We conclude that students find it difficult to transfer skills to their FYP and that staff intervention can bring their expectations and confidence to a more realistic level, and assist transition.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019
Event15th International CDIO Conference - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 25 Jun 201927 Jun 2019


Conference15th International CDIO Conference


Dive into the research topics of 'Helping Students Transition from Group Work to Individual Projects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this