Working on Critical Thinking skills using the computer lab works of an Engineering subject




Critical Thinking, learning assessment, teaching strategies, engineering education, engineering students


A practical intervention was devised in order to promote and to assess Critical Thinking in undergraduate students of Engineering. First, in collaboration with specialists in education, the concept of Critical Thinking, and its skills and dispositions on which to focus on, was determined. Second, a teaching strategy was designed in order to be as effective as possible, considering the limitations of the intervention. This strategy took advantage of the computer lab sessions where discussion and questioning encouraged the development of Critical Thinking. Then, the instruments to assess the acquired skills and attitudes of the students were developed. Finally, a quantitative analysis of the results was conducted in order to evaluate the validity and reliability of the strategy. This paper presents a full description of the intervention carried on for two years. Besides the desired effects on the students’ performance, some conclusions regarding the development of appropriate instruments to deal with a large group of students are drawn. This intervention has proven to be effective in order to help the students to develop their Critical Thinking skills, and it is particularly suitable for large groups.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Juan Giner-Navarro, Universitat Politècnica de València

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Águeda Sonseca, Universitat Politècnica de València

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

José Martínez-Casas, Universitat Politècnica de València

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Javier Carballeira, Universitat Politècnica de València

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science


Ahern, A., Dominguez, C., McNally, C., O'Sullivan, J. J. and Pedrosa, D. (2019). A literature review of critical thinking in engineering education. Studies in Higher Education, 44, 816-828.

Ahern, A., O'Connor, T., Mac Ruairc, G., McNamara, M. and O'Donnell, D. (2012). Critical Thinking in the University Curriculum: The Impact on Engineering Education. European Journal of Engineering Education, 37 (2), 125-132.

Andrews, J., and Higson, H. (2008). Graduate employability, 'Soft skills' versus 'Hard' business knowledge: A European study. Higher Education in Europe, 33, 411-422.

Angeli, C., and Valanides, N. (2009). Instructional Effects on Critical Thinking: Performance on Ill-Defined Issues. Learning and Instruction, 19 (4), 322-334.

Baytiyeh, H. and Naja, M. K. (2017). Students' Perceptions of the Flipped Classroom Model in an Engineering Course: A Case Study. European Journal of Engineering Education, 42 (6), 1048-1061.

Birenbaum, M. (1996). Assessment 2000: Towards a pluralistic approach to assessment. Alternatives in assessment of achievements, learning processes prior knowledge. M. Birenbaum and F. J. R. C. Dochy, eds., Kluwer, Boston, 3-30.

Dominguez, C. coord. (2018). A European Collection of the Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions Needed in Different Professional Fields for the 21st Century. ITAD, Vila Real.

Douglas, K. A., Fernández, T., Purzer, S., Fosmire, M., and Van Epps, A. (2018). The Critical-Thinking Engineering Information Literacy Test (CELT): A Validation Study for Fair Use Among Diverse Students. International Journal of Engineering Education, 34 (4), 1347-1362.

Dunne, G. (2015). Beyond critical thinking to critical being: Criticality in higher education and life. International Journal of Education Research, 86-99.

Facione, P. A. (1990). Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction, executive summary, The Delphi Report. The complete American Philosophical Association Delphi research report, California Academic, Millbrae, CA.

Guerra, A., and Holgaard, J. E. (2016). Enhancing Critical Thinking in a PBL Environment. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32 (1(B), 424-437.

Hagerty, D. J., and Rockaway, T. D. (2012). Adapting entry-level engineering courses to emphasize critical thinking. International Journal of STEM Education, 13 (2), 25-34.

Hart Research Associates. (2013). It takes more than a major: Employer priorities for college learning and student success. Accessed February 10, 2021.

Hong, Y. C. and Choi, I. (2015). Assessing reflective thinking in solving design problems: The development of a questionnaire. British Journal Education Technology 46 (4): 848-863.

Itabashi-Campbell, R., Perelli, S., and Gluesing, J. (2011). Engineering Problem Solving and Knowledge Creation: An Epistemological Perspective. Technology Management Conference (ITMC), IEEE International, San Jose, California, 777-789.

Jackson, D. (2010). An international profile of industry-relevant competencies and skill gaps in modern graduates." International Journal of Management Education 8 (3): 29-58.

Jonassen, D., Strobel, J. and Beng Lee C. (2006). Everyday Problem Solving in Engineering: Lessons for Engineering Educators. Journal of Engineering Education 92 (2): 139-151.

Kelly, A. (2001). The evolution of key skills: towards a tawney paradigm. Journal of Vocational Education & Training 53 (1): 21-36.

Liu, O. L., Frankel, L. and Roohr, K. C. (2014). Assessing Critical Thinking in Higher Education: Current State and Directions for Next-Generation Assessment. ETS Research Report Series 1: 1-23.

Lönngren, J., and Svanström, M. (2015). Systems Thinking for Dealing with Wicked Sustainability Problems: Beyond Functionalist Approaches. In Proc., 7th International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD'15) 1-7. University of British Columbia.

Llopis-Albert, C., Rubio, F., Zeng, Shouzhen, Z., Grima-Olmedo, J., Grima-Olmedo, C. (2022) The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) applied to Mechanical Engineering. Multidisciplinary Journal for Education Social and Technological Sciences 9(1), 59-70.

McCormick, M., Lawyer, K., Wiggins, J., Swan, C. W., Paterson, K. G. and Bielefeldt, A. R. (2015). Sustainable Engineering Assessment Using Rubric-Based Analysis of Challenge Question Responses. Journal of Professional Issues in Education and Practice 141 (2).

Michaluk, L. M., Martens, J., Damron, R. L. and High, K. A. (2016). Developing a Methodology for Teaching and Evaluating Critical Thinking Skills in First-Year Engineering Students. International Journal of Engineering Education 32 (1(A)), 84-99.

Naimpally, A., Ramachandran, H. and Smith, C. (2012). Lifelong Learning for Engineers and Scientists in the Information Age. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Paul, R. (1995). Critical thinking: How to prepare students for a rapidly changing world, Foundation for Critical Thinking, Santa Rosa, CA: Ritthenhouse Book Distribu.

Pierce, C. E., Gassman, S. L., and Huffman, J. T. (2013). Environments for Fostering Effective Critical Thinking in Geotechnical Engineering Education (Geo-EFFECTs). European Journal of Engineering Education 38 (3), 281-299.

Rieckmann, M. (2012). Future-oriented higher education: Which key competencies should be fostered through university teaching and learning? Futures 44: 127-135.

Rodríguez-Largacha, M. J., García-Flores, F. M., Fernández-Sánchez, G., Fernández-Heredia, A., Millán, M. A., Martínez, J. M., Vilardaga, I. and Bernaldo, M. O. (2015). Improving Student Participation and Motivation in the Learning Process. Journal of Professional Issues in Education and Practice 141 (1).

Schulz, B. (2008). The importance of soft skills: Education beyond academic knowledge. Windhoek, Namibia: Dept. of Communication, Polytechnic of Namibia.

Sirotiak, T., and Sharma, A. (2019). Problem-Based Learning for Adaptability and Management Skills. Journal of Professional Issues in Education and Practice 145 (4).

Stassen, M. L. A., Herrington, A., and Henderson, L. (2011). Defining critical thinking in higher education. Chapter 10, To improve the academy, J. Miller, ed., Vol. 30, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, 126-141.

Sursock, A., and Smidt, H. (2010). Trends 2010: A decade of change in European higher education. European University Association, Brussels.

UPV (2020). Transversal competencies. Accessed June 01, 2020.

Young, K., and Chapman, E. (2010). Generic competency frameworks: A brief historical overview. Education Research and Perspectives 37 (1): 1-24.

Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O., Shavelson, R. J. and Kuhn, C. (2015). The international state of research on measurement of competency in higher education. Studies of Higher Education 40 (3): 393-411.




How to Cite

Giner-Navarro, J., Sonseca, Águeda, Martínez-Casas, J., & Carballeira, J. (2022). Working on Critical Thinking skills using the computer lab works of an Engineering subject. Multidisciplinary Journal for Education, Social and Technological Sciences, 9(2), 23–45.




Funding data