NSF EngEd: Making Connections: A Theory of Synergistic Learning in Engineering (NSF #1025190)

Project’s NSF Page

NSF Project Outcomes Page


Joachim Walther, Ph.D. - EETI Founding Director, Professor of Engineering Education

David Gattie
Nadia Kellam
Tracie Costantino
Bonnie Cramond

Grant Details

Funder: Directorate for Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation
Amount: $400,000.00
Award number: 1025190
Start and End date: August 2010 – January 2015


This engineering education research project will investigate synergistic learning, the processes by which students integrate disparate aspects of learning into a coherent whole. The work will be conducted through curriculum innovation over four years of an environmental engineering program at the University of Georgia. The main mechanism is establishing ?Synthesis and Design Studios? to integrate disparate knowledge from STEM, humanities, and social science courses. The project also seeks to understand the mechanisms of synergistic learning and integrating this understanding into a meta-theory that connects learning theory with engineering education. In particular the project seeks to understand the ?Ah Ha!? moments when various fragments of knowledge fall into place. The project builds on a strong link between engineering education research in the area of synergistic learning and pedagogical methods and the Synthesis and Design Studios students take for all four years of the program?s curriculum.

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