Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Sixth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Planned Chaos in Electrical Engineering Education
Thomas Fuhrmann, Michael Niemetz

Last modified: 28-04-2020


This paper presents the idea to intentionally introduce planned chaos into electrical engineering lectures and lab courses to improve students’ learning success. The reason to present this idea are several personal experiences in daily teaching. If students experience some uncertainty in their study program, it is seen that they have higher challenges and therefore higher learning success in managing uncertain situations. In these ways, students acquire methodical and social competences to deal with uncertainty and achieve productive results in an unstable working environment. If, however, the chaos is too large, students are over-strained with the situation, distracted from the actual learning targets and consequently learning results will be worse, drop-out rates will increase and they will be frustrated. The beneficial level of uncertainty depends on the student culture, academic progress and personality characteristics. The competence to deal with complex situations is essential for later professional life where unexpected circumstances occur regularly. Introducing planned chaos into lectures and lab courses has not to be confused with a missing didactic concept and is no justification for a bad preparation. Planned chaos is a demanding concept for professors to find the right implementation for an optimized learning outcome. These described findings are experienced from practical work and student evaluations.

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