Learning outcomes of a project-based capstone product development course

Erika Rautavaara, Ville Taajamaa, Viljami Lyytikäinen, Tapio Salakoski

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Product development and front-end project management with an emphasis on learning-bydoing educational philosophy is seen as one possible answer for closing the gap between industry expectations for graduatés working life skills and the actual learning enhancement provided by the academia. The question is not so much why, nor it is what. For these we have had an abundance of answers since early 1960s. The question is how? How to implement hands-on doing focusing on relevant working life skills such as project working capabilities in a teamwork setting, design thinking and communication skills, in addition to the actual disciplinary knowledge. This paper reports preliminary results from a work-in-progress study that analyses the course structure, teaching philosophy and learning outcomes of a course that aims to provide relevant product development, team-based project working and project management skills in an open-ended environment to students. The key research question was what kind of learning outcomes were achieved during the course. Secondly how do these results reflect on the intended learning outcomes. The course is an academic year long Product development project course run by Aalto University and has been up and running using the same course structure since the year 1997. The course is viewed on its structure, teaching methodology, and most importantly through its intended learning outcomes. Data gathering included eleven semi-structured thematic interviews. Analysis was done using approach and elements from grounded theory method. The results show that the structure, teaching methods and the learning outcomes of the course are aligned and correlate with the intended learning outcomes. According to the preliminary findings the courses main learning outcome is that the students have been able to construct meaning for different processes and components in order to achieve successful team-based project work in a product development context. Processes and components include areas such as team work, project management, communication, doing instead of passively following, working remotely and the importance of prototyping.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of NordDesign 2014 Conference, NordDesign 2014
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9781904670582
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventNordDesign Conference - NTNU, Espoo, Finland
    Duration: 27 Aug 201429 Aug 2014
    Conference number: 10


    ConferenceNordDesign Conference
    Abbreviated titleNorddesign
    Internet address


    • Problem-based learning
    • Product development
    • Team-based learning

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