Professional Skills

Professional (transversal) skills are career competences that are not specific to a particular job, task, discipline or are of knowledge. They are skills that can be used in variety of work settings, and as such are necessary for engineering graduates’ successful transition into future jobs.

Engineers and architects often need to deal with great social, technical and environmental complexities, and the demand for having broadly educated holistic engineers will only continue to grow in the future. Being able to manage and lead diverse teams, understand complex, interdisciplinary systems and solve open-ended problems across and beyond different subjects is expected from the next generation of graduates.

There are several projects under this initiative, joint in the attempt to examine how well professional, transversal and interdisciplinary skills are integrated into the curriculum at EPFL. The work done under the umbrella of examining professional skills integration is done through studying curricular material, collecting students’ and coaches’ opinions through surveys and interviews, analysing interdisciplinary MAKE projects, and mapping examples of good practices across the institution.

Mapping Transversal Skills

An initiative to map, examine and track teaching and learning of transversal skills at EPFL was developed as a result of a collaboration between the LEARN team, the Teaching Support Service (CAPE) and the Discovery Learning Program (DLP). Under this initiative we have so far looked at:

  1. Mapping transversal skills presented in the course documents (fiches de cours) across all sections
  2. Presenting examples of good practice in using different teaching methods in integrating transversal skills
  3. Examining the coverage of transversal skills in master courses
  4. Mapping transversal skills offered by units that are not covered through the regular curriculum

Two reports are available, one on curricular material and one on extra-curricular content. The first was presented on SEFI 2020 and is available at infoscience, and the second was developed as an internal document. In addition, several videos of teachers providing examples of their practice in teaching transversal skills were compiled. These are available here.

MAKE Research

This study looks into the effects of interdisciplinary MAKE projects on students’ motivation, learning strategies and project-management skills, with the aim of evaluating the impact of this initiative and providing useful feedback. The aim of the study is to evaluate the efficacy and quality of project-based learning experiences at the MAKE program at EPFL, with the aim of supporting further development of a more holistic curricula that would better support student engagement and learning (not only in terms of disciplinary learning but also transversal competencies).

As a result of this study, feedback and results would be provided to the teacher(s) and managing staff at the end of the experience. Results of this study are presented at SEFI 2021, and documented in a conference paper available below.

Evaluation of MA Programs

An evaluation of 5 MA programs has been done by CAPE and data were collaboratively analysed with LEARN, mainly to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Master courses given at EPFL. Based on quantitative and qualitative input, the evaluation indicates that students at the MA level receive a strong theoretical knowledge, while on the more practical level, students seem to expect more of transversal skills, such as management skills, IT tools and understanding ethical, legal and environmental impacts within engineering. The study has been presented at SEFI 2021, and the paper is available at infoscience (link below).

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Compétences professionnelles

Les compétences professionnelles (transversales) sont des compétences de carrière qui ne sont pas spécifiques à un emploi, une tâche, une discipline ou qui sont des connaissances particulières. Ce sont des compétences qui peuvent être utilisées dans divers contextes de travail et, en tant que telles, sont nécessaires à la réussite de la transition des diplômés en ingénierie vers de futurs emplois.

Les ingénieurs et les architectes doivent souvent faire face à de grandes complexités sociales, techniques et environnementales, et la demande du marché de l’emploi pour des ingénieurs possédant des compétences holistiques ne fera que croître à l’avenir. Être capable de gérer et de diriger des équipes diverses, de comprendre des systèmes interdisciplinaires complexes et de résoudre des problèmes ouverts au sein et au-delà de différents domaines est attendu de la prochaine génération de diplômés.

Plusieurs projets s’inscrivent conjointement dans cette initiative, afin d’examiner dans quelle mesure les compétences professionnelles, transversales et interdisciplinaires sont intégrées dans le cursus de l’EPFL. Le travail effectué dans le cadre de l’examen de l’intégration de ces compétences professionnelles dans le cursus se fait par l’étude du matériel pédagogique, la collecte des opinions des étudiants et des coach par le biais d’enquêtes et d’entretiens, l’analyse des projets MAKE interdisciplinaires et la cartographie d’exemples de bonnes pratiques à travers l’établissement.

Cartographier les compétences transversales

Une initiative visant à cartographier, examiner et suivre l’enseignement et l’apprentissage des compétences transversales à l’EPFL a été développée grâce à une collaboration entre l’équipe LEARN, le Teaching Support Service (CAPE) et le Discovery Learning Program (DLP). Dans le cadre de cette initiative, nous avons jusqu’à présent examiné :

 

  1. Cartographier les compétences transversales présentées dans les fiches de cours dans toutes les sections
  2. Présenter des exemples de bonnes pratiques dans l’utilisation de différentes méthodes d’enseignement en intégrant des compétences transversales
  3. Examiner la couverture des compétences transversales dans les masters
  4. Cartographier les compétences transversales offertes par les unités qui ne sont pas couvertes par le programme régulier

Deux rapports sont disponibles, l’un sur le contenu du curriculum et l’autre sur le contenu extracurriculaire. Le premier a été présenté sur SEFI 2020 et est disponible sur infoscience, et le second a été développé en tant que document interne. De plus, plusieurs vidéos d’enseignants donnant des exemples de leur pratique dans l’enseignement des compétences transversales ont été compilées. Celles-ci seront bientôt disponibles sur un site web dédié.

Les Projets MAKE

Cette étude examine les effets des projets interdisciplinaires MAKE sur la motivation, les stratégies d’apprentissage et les compétences en gestion de projet des étudiants, dans le but d’évaluer l’impact de cette initiative et de fournir des commentaires utiles. L’objectif de l’étude est d’évaluer l’efficacité et la qualité des expériences d’apprentissage par projet du programme MAKE à l’EPFL, dans le but de soutenir le développement d’un programme plus holistique qui soutiendrait mieux l’engagement et l’apprentissage des étudiants (pas seulement en termes d’apprentissages disciplinaires mais aussi des compétences transversales).

À la suite de cette étude, des commentaires et des résultats seraient fournis aux enseignants et au personnel de gestion à la fin de l’expérience. Les résultats de cette étude sont présentés au SEFI 2021 et documentés dans un document de conférence disponible sur infoscience.

Évaluation des programmes de Master

Une évaluation de 5 programmes de Master a été réalisée par le CAPE et les données ont été analysées en collaboration avec le LEARN, principalement pour évaluer les forces et les faiblesses des cours de Master dispensés à l’EPFL. Sur la base d’apports quantitatifs et qualitatifs, l’évaluation indique que les étudiants au niveau de la maîtrise reçoivent de solides connaissances théoriques, tandis qu’au niveau plus pratique, les étudiants semblent s’attendre à davantage de compétences transversales, telles que les compétences en gestion, les outils informatiques et la compréhension éthique, juridique et les impacts environnementaux au sein de l’ingénierie. L’étude a été présentée au SEFI 2021 et l’article est également disponible sur infoscience.

Contact(s):
Helena Kovacs - LEARN - helena.kovacs@epfl.ch
Julien Delisle - DLP - julien.delisle@epfl.ch
Isabelle Sarrade - CAPE - isabelle.sarrade@epfl.ch
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Professional Skills

Professional (transversal) skills are career competences that are not specific to a particular job, task, discipline or are of knowledge. They are skills that can be used in variety of work settings, and as such are necessary for engineering graduates’ successful transition into future jobs.

Engineers and architects often need to deal with great social, technical and environmental complexities, and the demand for having broadly educated holistic engineers will only continue to grow in the future. Being able to manage and lead diverse teams, understand complex, interdisciplinary systems and solve open-ended problems across and beyond different subjects is expected from the next generation of graduates.

There are several projects under this initiative, joint in the attempt to examine how well professional, transversal and interdisciplinary skills are integrated into the curriculum at EPFL. The work done under the umbrella of examining professional skills integration is done through studying curricular material, collecting students’ and coaches’ opinions through surveys and interviews, analysing interdisciplinary MAKE projects, and mapping examples of good practices across the institution.

Mapping Transversal Skills

An initiative to map, examine and track teaching and learning of transversal skills at EPFL was developed as a result of a collaboration between the LEARN team, the Teaching Support Service (CAPE) and the Discovery Learning Program (DLP). Under this initiative we have so far looked at:

  1. Mapping transversal skills presented in the course documents (fiches de cours) across all sections
  2. Presenting examples of good practice in using different teaching methods in integrating transversal skills
  3. Examining the coverage of transversal skills in master courses
  4. Mapping transversal skills offered by units that are not covered through the regular curriculum

Two reports are available, one on curricular material and one on extra-curricular content. The first was presented on SEFI 2020 and is available at infoscience, and the second was developed as an internal document. In addition, several videos of teachers providing examples of their practice in teaching transversal skills were compiled. These will soon be available on a separate website.

MAKE Research

This study looks into the effects of interdisciplinary MAKE projects on students’ motivation, learning strategies and project-management skills, with the aim of evaluating the impact of this initiative and providing useful feedback. The aim of the study is to evaluate the efficacy and quality of project-based learning experiences at the MAKE program at EPFL, with the aim of supporting further development of a more holistic curricula that would better support student engagement and learning (not only in terms of disciplinary learning but also transversal competencies).

As a result of this study, feedback and results would be provided to the teacher(s) and managing staff at the end of the experience. Results of this study are presented at SEFI 2021, and documented in a conference paper available on infoscience.

Evaluation of MA Programs

An evaluation of 5 MA programs has been done by CAPE and data were collaboratively analysed with LEARN, mainly to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Master courses given at EPFL. Based on quantitative and qualitative input, the evaluation indicates that students at the MA level receive a strong theoretical knowledge, while on the more practical level, students seem to expect more of transversal skills, such as management skills, IT tools and understanding ethical, legal and environmental impacts within engineering. The study has been presented at SEFI 2021, and the paper is available at infoscience.

Want to find out more?