challenging education

Challenge Based Learning

How do we ensure clean, affordable energy? Sufficient housing and food for all? And how can we age healthy as life expectancy increases? Important issues that we as a society need to work on. Technological developments are rapidly changing, too. Knowledge that seems accurate now, might be outdated in a few months time. The TU/e therefore educates you to become a ‘future proof engineer’. An engineer who is capable of finding solutions for questions that we are not familiar with yet. This demands education in which you learn how to develop yourself: Challenge Based Learning. We even won the Dutch Higher Education Awards for this type of education.

What is Challenge Based Learning?

The TU/e is offering students the concept of Challenge Based Learning. This means that, during your education, you will work on several challenges that occur in the world around us. A few examples:

  • Sustainable energy
  • Future cities
  • Portable ‘health’ sensors
  • Self-driving cars
  • Data models to predict group behavior

You will search for solutions for challenges within these themes, together with your fellow students and a professor. Sometimes together with students from your own major, sometimes with students from different majors. You’ll gain plenty of knowledge during lectures and webinars, but you are also encouraged to actively look for new knowledge.

The questions that you are working with are directly derived from the corporate life, society or science. The experts who are actually working on these challenges, are actively involved in our education. This helps you, even before the start of your career, to build bridges between technology and the world around you. This is a strong quality that is highly valued on the job market and in our society.

Why Challenge Based Learning?

You’ll directly apply the theory you’ve learned with CBL. Through this, you’ll automatically experience which knowledge you should deepen, or which experts you should approach to solve the problem. You will work on a challenge that you find truly interesting – from idea to prototype. Together with your team, you will think of ways to inform others about the solutions you’ve found. Besides gaining theoretical knowledge, you’ll develop plenty of other skills as well, such as: working together, dealing with insecurities, a problem-solving way of thinking, brainstorming, organizing, planning, and communicating – thus all kinds of skills that you’ll need in your career, whatever job path you choose. From entrepreneur to specialist in a company, these skills show the value of your knowledge and expertise as an engineer.

How does Challenge Based Learning work?

  • You’ll start working with a societal challenge, for which no solution has been found yet. For instance: think of an innovative solution for the storage and transportation of energy in a rapid growing region such as Brainport
  • Together with your team, you will be looking at a research- and/or design questions that might contribute to (partly) solving this problem. For instance: how can we increase the efficiency of solar panels?
  • After that, you and your team will search for a potential solution to answer your question. You’ll design new concepts, develop prototypes and test them. You’ll present your ideas in a presentation for a panel of partners and future clients
  • You’ll learn to approach the problem from a variety of angles through working together with other students. You’ll also learn how to explain the additional value of your contribution to others. This helps you to get to a great final solution for the team and to discover what you’ve learned yourself.

Curious to see what challenges our current students are working on? Check our education guide.

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TU/e Innovation Space is an educational environment on our campus. Here you can experience CBL with students from other majors. It’s an inspirational environment, where students, student teams, start-ups and researchers work together on solutions for societal challenges.

Many experts and coaches are present at Innovation Space. Besides, there are facilities for prototyping, 3D-printing, and other advanced machines that you can use (under supervision). Professors will give lectures, mini-seminars, and workshops, so you can develop a good theoretical basis for your project. Want to know more about Innovation Space? Check the website.

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Would you like to further develop your ideas after finishing your project? This is possible! For instance, through a student team or a start-up. You could still use the facilities that Innovation Space offers to work on your project.