Leadership development of 21st century engineering millennial students in Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates; problem-based learning in action

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Siobhan O’Sullivan
Chung-Suk Cho
Robert Pech
Young-Ji Byon


Leadership development has become an import aspect of the UAE’s educational system. In recent years, UAE leaders have focused on the reform of higher education assessment, curriculum and administration with a view to encouraging Emirati students to contribute to the nation’s growth as national human capital, through leadership roles where they will be guided and educated driving the needs of the knowledge economy. In many courses, students are more knowledge recipients than producers; they are considered cognitively active whilst physically inactive where learning is considered a passive process. BUSS301, a third-year undergraduate course taught to engineering students has undergone major revisions influenced by student evaluations on application, relevance and assessment. The earlier syllabus entitled Corporate Leadership and Human Resource Management (more theoretical and examination driven) has evolved to a more recent Enquiry Based approach: Teaching and Learning Leadership by Simulation and Theory where students are driving their own learning through inquiry using a project-based learning (PBL) approach.


Keywords: Project-based learning, engineering education, leadership, student-centred learning, constructivism, teambuilding, collaboration


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