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Research in Engineering Internship and Experiential Learning

Generally, research in engineering internship and experiential learning is moving towards an exploration of learning outcomes and how these learning outcomes can be assessed. Since the late 1980s, many studies have been conducted to investigate the impact of internship/placement experience on students (see Little & Harvey, 2006) for a report on work placement in higher education). Research in this area covers a wide range of topics including: 1) student learning through internship experience, 2) the assessment of student learning in internship, 3) the relationship between placement and academic performance, 4) the relationship between placement and career outcomes.

Most of the research on internship or industrial placement in engineering has been conducted on students' perception and attitude towards their internship/industrial placement experience (e.g. Au Yeung et al., 1993; Lock et al., 2009). In fact, there is still plenty of room for exploration in terms of students' expected and actual learning outcomes, the assessment of these outcomes (Biasca & Hill, 2011), as well as how does different characteristics of an internship influence students' achievement of these outcomes in engineering internship.


  • Au Yeung, Y. N., Lai, C. C., Ho, W. F., Sivan, A., Gow, L., & Ledesma, J. (1993). Attitudes towards industrial training in the BEng course in building services engineering at Hong Kong Polytechnic. Studies in Higher Education, 18(2), 205-226.
  • Biasca, K. L., & Hill, S. (2011, June). Assessment of ABET student outcomes during industrial internships. Paper presented at the 118th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.engr.uky.edu/~aseeched/papers/2011/1678.pdf
  • Chan, C. K. Y. (2012). Assessment for community service types of experiential learning in the engineering discipline. European Journal of Engineering Education, 37(1), 29-38.
  • Erickson, L. O. (2012). I can intern in France! Student perceptions of success during their international engineering internship. Online Journal for Global Engineering Education, 6(1). Retrieved 8 Jul, 2013, from http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/ojgee/vol6/iss1/6/?utm_source=digitalcommons.uri.edu %2Fojgee%2Fvol6%2Fiss1%2F6&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages
  • Iowa State University's College of Engineering (2015). Student Guide for Internship and Experiential Education. Retrieved from http://www.engineering.iastate.edu/ecs/files/2015/02/Student-Experiential-Education-Guide-Jan-2015.pdf
  • Little, B., & Harvey, L. (2006). Learning through work placements and beyond. UK: The Higher Education Academy.
  • Lock, G., Bullock, K., Gould, V., & Hejmadi, M. (2009). Exploring the industrial placement experience for mechanical engineering graduates. Engineering Education, 4, 42-51.
  • Mansfield, R. (2011). The effect of placement experience upon final-year results for surveying degree programmes. Studies in Higher Education, 36(8), 939-952.
  • Wilton, N. (2012). The impact of work placements on skills development and career outcomes for business and management graduates. Studies in Higher Education, 37(5), 603-620.