INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN EDUCATION, vol.28, no.3, pp.843-866, 2018 (SCI-Expanded)
Students with relatively low affinity and/or weak ability for science and mathematics have been presently acknowledged into Mechanical Engineering (ME) departments around the world. This has resulted in apparent lowering of fully competent graduate engineers, due to insufficient comprehension and its concomitant cognitive issues. Now, the complexity and the demand of ME education have been extremely unbalanced with recruited students. This conflict between the education process and less knowledgeable students has been adequately acknowledged, but remedies for this global issue are not yet available. This is no longer sustainable. The paper gives insight into (individual and combined) plausible reasons for fewer fully competent graduate engineers, taking the specific case study in Turkey. It proposes a generic approach, which can be extended to courses of any university/degree subject. Findings on student learning are provided using a hierarchical decomposition. A proposed remedy for this issue has been thoroughly evaluated, and accountability measures, qualitative data and a survey has been conducted for the ME design course taught in Turkey. The findings indicate that the new recruits are not fully to blame for the conflict, because there have also been other reasons for the issues within teaching. It identified multiple instances of the reasons such as unnecessary complexity of textbooks, unsolved contradictions even between the technical component design standards and etc. If these are considered by educators, this will help to reduce the perceived degree of teaching difficulty, and have a positive effect on the quality of graduates. It may even assist in attracting higher ability students into ME.