The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Effective Learning Curriculum through Interaction between Industrial Professionals and Programme Students

Torbjörn Ilar, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)

Lisa Larsson, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)

Anna Öhrwall Rönnbäck, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)


The responsibilities and challenges for production developers and managers have increased during the last years, due to increase of sustainability requirements, adaption to circular economy, and technological development. This infers a demand of continuous knowledge build-up both for existing industrial professionals, and in the education of future production engineers.
The trends are often referred to as Industry 4.0 [1], driven by new technology opportunities taking automation and smart manufacturing further with e.g. Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI), and, more recently, Industry 5.0 [2], with its focus shift from shareholder value to stakeholder value, reinforcing the role and the contribution of industry to society. Both industry and academia foresee a radical shift of the future workplace. Not only is this due to the digitalization of manufacturing, the focus on the wellbeing of people in the production process and use of technologies for prosperity solutions beyond jobs and growth, while respecting planet production limits, but it is recently also affected by the covid-19 pandemic, changing engineering work towards physically distant using online methods and tools.
With this dynamic and rapidly changing engineering work environment, integration of industrial practice into study programs is probably more important than ever. Not only does it secure industrial relevance, assuring that students becoming well aware of current practice, but also, it has previously been shown that an action-based education improves deep-learning [3]. Reciprocally, the industrial workplace, manned with professionals with mixed skills and various experiences, needs to have the ability to meet up and reassure not only the onboarding of students as new employees, but also that their new knowledge gained from academic studies and research can be implemented at shopfloors and offices.
This paper reports the development of a new sustainable production engineering program, enabled through (1) the initiative to create an innovative and new engineering program (rooted in the mechanical engineering curricula) at one university, and (2) a nation-wide project addressing life-long learning needs for industrial professionals with online, MOOC-like (massive open online courses) modules.
The combination of these two initiatives will results in an engineering study program containing the modules as course components, easily exchanged and updated, and a digital arena for students and professionals to meet during the education program, which can support project-based student interaction with host companies that have clear sustainability goals.
Moreover, the study program development leans on the international CDIO (Conceiving, Designing, Implementing, Operating) framework [4], where engineering education curricular planning and outcome-based assessment revolve around real-world systems and products.
The paper concludes with a discussion of challenges and opportunities for developing such new engineering education program.

Keywords: Sustainability, Curriculum, Engineering program.


  1. Schwab K (2015), The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond, Foreign Affairs, Also published 2016 at World Economic Forum.
  2. Breque M., De Nul L., Petridis A., (2021), Industry 5.0 - Towards a sustainable, human-centric and resilient European industry, European Commission, January.
  3. O’Brien and Hart (1999):
  4. CDIO (2021),

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