Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Supplement, 93-96
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.37B024
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Educational Model Innovating and Capability Improving
Mechanism of Engineering Education Based on CDIO
Xiangyi Lin, Hongy un Luo, Ha o W u , Ya nling Xia o
School of Economics and Management, Northeast Petroleum University, Daqing, China
Received 2012
Educational model innovating and capability improving of engineering education is the driving source of
cultivating engineering talents. Combining with educational ideas and educational cycles of CDIO model,
a new educational model is constructed for engineering education. The operating process of the new edu-
cational model is demonstrated according to objective conceiving, planning and designing, implementing
and feedback loop. Finally, in the view of practical optimization, cross integration, moral integrity and
according to redundant, the mechanism of educational capability improving is analyzed in detail.
Keywords: CDIO Model; Engineering Education; Model Innovating; Capability Improving Mechanism
With the rapid development of global economy, the competi-
tions between countries are not only talents, but also reserve of
talents. Engineering science, supporting all industries, can
maintain and promote economic stability and development. The
development of engineering education plays an important role
in promoting comprehensive national strength. Scientific inno-
vation results in great changes of industrial structure. Engi-
neering education must anticipate and adapt to this variation. In
future, engineer’s role will transform from working for lower
technological engineering to knowledge based service economy
[1]. This transformation involves in changes of knowledge
system and learning pattern. Engineering education system and
model is lagging behind updating speed of knowledge because
of explosive expansion of knowledge system, rapid speed of
knowledge updating, unprecedented broaden channels of
knowledge acquisition[2]. In order to cultivate engineering
talents who can adapt to the changing environment, the empha-
sis of engineering education should be turned into the cultiva-
tion of the students’ practical ability and the adapting capabili-
All of these mentioned above require establishing a new cul-
tivating model and capability improving system for engineering
education. In the past, engineering system mainly aims at in-
dustry, market and resource. Meanwhile, the cultivating direc-
tion is very single. Under the trend of globalization, the engi-
neering education needs from angles of the world market, the
world resources and a global industrial system or industrial
structure to cultivate engineering talents. Due to the more and
more closer international cooperation, in order to adapt to the
international engineering environment, it is necessary to open
up international training approaches and model of engineering
The model innovating and capability improving of engineer-
ing education is an important approach to cultivate international
engineering talents. CDIO (Conception, Design, Implementa-
tion, Operation) model is a comprehensive international engi-
neering talents training mode, including team cooperation and
communication, individual professional skills, critical and crea-
tive thinking. The CDIO model has been the core module in the
world universities’ curriculums in recent years [3].
Engineering Education & CDIO
Engineering education can cultivate engineers’ talents who
can establish engineering project with outstanding comprehen-
sive capability [4]. While the current engineering education
model whose academic tendency is heavy, is lack of system
planning, constantly cutting the technical and practical contents
and adding academic and theoretical contents in the curriculum.
CDIO model makes up for the lack of engineering education
through the clear system structure and the efficient educational
method. CDIO is a cycle from research to operation of the
products which is made by four basic links of conception, de-
sign, implementation and operation. Each link of engineering
education can be joined up, so that the students can use inde-
pendent, practical and associated methods to learn engineering
sciences. CDIO model puts emphasis on training high quality
comprehensive engineering talents. The students should master
the knowledge in technology, pay attention to reasoning ability,
strengthen their own professional skills and professional ethics,
and build team collaboration and interpersonal communication
skills [4]. CDIO engineering ability training is a gradual
process, using the strict ability training and management me-
thod to gradually improve the students’ engineering ability
through the continuous deliberate practice [5].
Model Innovating of Engineering Education
Based on the CDIO Model
Engineering education innovation emphasizes the cultivation
of both the students’ theoretical knowledge and practical ability.
Selecting system engineering as the whole material can reflect
the practical applicability of engineering education innovation.
Fitting the training philosophy of CDIO, the scientificity of
introducing this model into the engineering education model
innovation is demonstrated clearly by the different effects in
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
each phase of the project. We can complete the whole process
of the project combined with CDIO model, according to four
basic steps of conceiving target, designing solution, putting into
operation, realizing summary. A specific pattern is shown in
Figure 1.
Reasonable Set Goals
Setting project targets can decide the development direction
of the project. Therefore, how to select target is the first prob-
lem to solve for engineering education innovation. Conception
is a thinking activity that presents systematic, central, hierar-
chical and physical integrity. Conception is an activity that
builds on the past and prepares for the future; innovative con-
ception plays an important role in final results.
CDIO model pays emphasis on transforming the education
model that takes test for the purpose, and conceives an engi-
neering education model which sets digestion and innovation as
guiding direction to replace the past memory patterns. This
model make higher engineering education model focus on
global strategic competition, stimulate the students’ subjective
initiative, so that students can establish a system target on the
basis of profound understanding of grasping essential attribute
and movement rules of the objects. This model also can broa-
den students’ vision outside the theoretical concept and spread
their thought, take use of examples to demonstrate the interna-
tional engineering project, help them analogy out their own
insights and make corresponding standards for the achievement
of the system targets, and then define the concept and structure
to ensure the feasibility of target.
Basic theory+ engineering practice
Reservati on
The optimal solution cycle
correcti on
The result
Gro up
Reservati on
Method 1
Method n
Scheme 1
Scheme n
Positive influence
Negative influence
Negative influence
Positive influence
Target 1
The optimum scheme
Group n
Group 1
Result n
Result 1
The optimal solution set
Pract ice error correction
Statistical analysis
Comparin g, retaining materials
Condi t i ons
Prediction idea
Design planning
Optimized combination
knowle dge
Target n
Figure 1.
Innovation Model of Engineering Education Based on CDIO model.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Design Effective Planning
Planning is the final preparation for the project before it
starts, which can not be immediately changed with project
changes after it launched. Previous design planning is single
and lack of diversity and innovation. However, CDIO model
carries out planning innovation in accordance with the system
model and standards strictly, under the premise o f understand-
ing the conception targets accurately and thoroughly. It is the
continuation of the conception, and can make the planning,
programming and conception outside through the visual form.
It makes the previous theory or practical design approach inte-
grated by choosing different design method and putting design
scheme into subsection processing. In view of theory and prac-
tice two channels, it can reduce the possibly negative effects of
system to minimum and keep the corresponding beneficial ef-
fect after operation test and theoretical calculation. When ne-
cessary, we can transform these positive factors into derivative
targets and upgrade single target system to Multi- target system
on the basis of the previous targets to achieve the geometry of
the earnings growth.
Integrate Implementing Process
Implementation is the process that makes the conception tar-
get and design planning come true. Implementation requires
data operation integration for conception target and design
planning, so as to achieve the optimal expected results. The
previous implementation which simply completes the task and
presents the results is lack of multidimensional thinking and the
comparison of results. However, CDIO model considers ele-
ments in detail involved in the process comprehensively in the
software and hardware.
CDIO model no longer sets the simulation project or manu-
facturing plant as the main practice site. It Contacts with the
enterprises related to the program and contracts the fast and
exploratory engineering tasks. Let the students do engineering
work in different groups according to their characteristics, so
that the same goal could bring out a variety of results.
Drawing up the measure standard after the end of the project
practice, the corresponding course teachers should make ad-
justment for every link in order to reflect the specific process
more accurately and draw up the measure standards of perfor-
mance [6]. This model no longer selects preferred scheme, but
keeps excellent part of the process, and then integrates the
summarized data materials to carry out the best scheme through
the discussion audit. Excellent students should be selected in
each process of the project according to the optimal solutions of
the target. The teachers should redistribute the groups and carry
the optimal solution back to the original projects to integrate the
software and hardware, and operates the cycle once again. The
cycle times can be chosen according to the requirements of
project. The project can be constantly upgraded by the above
test, confirmation, verification and authentication.
Optimization of Feedback Loop
Feedback loop is the last stage of the whole engineering
project. The purpose of this stage is looking for the shortcom-
ings and shortages of the system and making a summary of
excellent feedback in order to make sufficient preparation for
next system cycle.
The summary of system only remained on statistics and re-
sults analysis in the past, which can’t always achieve the effec-
tiveness of practical application. CDIO mode, is not only statis-
tics and results analysis, but also continues to simulate error
correction, repeat training operation on outstanding shortages of
every step. Improving system process can support life cycles of
engineering project system preferably. Adding with new design
goal can lead optimization evolvement of engineering project
system. Considering the dominant and recessive value compre-
hensively, feedback the details of fewer value and guaranteeing
the nature of high value of engineering project, all of these
above can be reference material for next system cycle.
Capability Improving Mechanism of CDIO
Engineering Education
The improvement of engineering education capability is the
security of better engineering talents’ output. The engineering
education under the CDIO mode has better applicability, diver-
sity and innovation of educational methods, and pays more
attention on the practicable education, composite subjects’
education and humanistic quality outside classroom. Therefore,
according to the teaching features of the CDIO mode, in order
to improve the quality and effect of the engineering education,
the following mechanisms should be followed.
Practice Optimization Mechanism
The engineering education under CDIO mode is a process
that recombining the four basic stages of CDIO mode and ac-
tually operating with the continually updating knowledge. The
purpose of modern engineering education is cultivating the
prototype of the modern engineers from professional natures.
However, the current engineering graduates mostly can't satisfy
the enterprises’ demands of high skilled degrees. On one hand,
criticisms on education have shown ignoring the practice in the
training; on the other hand, excessively attention paid to the
students’ practical training may cause students’ shortage of
knowledge. By subdividing and optimizing the specialization of
practice, balancing the relationship between theory knowledge
and practice operation, the engineering education can be de-
veloped towards more systematic direction, such as “large scale
engineering”, “micro scale engineering”, etc. Modern engi-
neering usually has the close relation with scientific and tech-
nological innovation, economic development and social
progress. So engineering education is no longer the “profes-
sional” education as known before, but a process of knowing
more widely outside the world through continuous learning and
practice, which still has the character of engineering [7]. Based
on the cognition of new changes of engineering, better under-
standing the practical optimization can promote the engineering
education capability.
Ccross and Iintegration Mechanism
With the development of the society, the complexity and di-
versity of the problem in engineering field is increasing. It is
difficult to answer and explain engineering problem only by
scientific engineering knowledge, so it is necessary to use
scientific knowledge of other fields to conduct research on
engineering problem in-depth. As students of this age lacking
of practice knowledge in related fields, such as industrial
materials, mechanical design, life cycle, and so engineering
education should set up multi-discipline courses in different
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
fields, which can expand the vision of students. Building real
working environment can give students opportunities to man-
age and participate in the link of engineering project themselves
like researching, manufacturing and detection. The whole oper-
ation of a project system can help students promote cognitive
degree of different scientific fields, which can cultivate inter-
disciplinary talents for engineering.
Iintegration Mechanism of Capability and Political
Integr ity
The talents who are trained under CDIO engineering educa-
tion model should have not only strong understanding and in-
novative capability, but also noble ethics. It is not only related
to the development of the engineering education itself, but also
has impact on the whole society environment. Individual moral,
social role and responsibility consciousness will affect the en-
gineers’ ethics. Facing the increasingly complex social envi-
ronment and the interest relations, the cultivation of engineers’
personnel ethics and morals has become an arduous task in
engineering education. Because engineering ethics are influ-
enced by engineering effectiveness , social culture and natural
environment restriction[8], CDIO engineering education model
puts always emphasizes on the unity and harmonious of man
and society in the process from the target conception to
achievement, and then shapes engineering talents.
Mechanism of Absorbing the Essence and Rejecting
the Dross
In the decade of the information highly developed, engineer-
ing education is facing the world changing rapidly, and all in-
dustries present the changing situation. Therefore, capturing the
demand information of engineering talents at this stage and
predicting the development trend of engineering science in the
future is the ability that engineering education should master. It
requires engineering education to establish its own information
collection system and accurately search related knowledge and
detailed information through the development trend of the in-
dustry. By way of knowing hiring needs and running the cur-
rent situation, the teaching process can quickly adjust to the
needs of the community. The thinking way and behavior pattern
that are out of times should be carved or cut teaching propor-
tion. The elites of the engineering education can be retained and
redundancy parts that do not adapt to the educational demand
can be cut.
The innovation of CDIO engineering education is a compli-
cated process, which is influenced by many factors, such as
society, school, and environment. Innovating engineering edu-
cation by adopting CDIO mode is not just a fusion of these two
systems, but also the co-adaptation of engineering education
and the subsystems of CDIO mode. The innovation combined
with CDIO mode on four basic stages of objectives’ setting,
planning and design, implementation process and feedback loop
has improved the students' practical capability, spread their
innovative thinking, and inspired their learning pattern. This
paper puts forward four mechanisms of the CDIO engineering
education including practice optimization, cross integration,
ability and political integrity, and absorbing the essence and
rejecting the dross.
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