Student Perceptions of Engineering Service Experiences as a Source of Learning Technical and Professional Skills

  • Carberry A
  • Lee H
  • Swan C
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A dramatic increase in engineering student participation during the last decade indicates heightened student and faculty interest in engineering service experiences. The first step towards understanding why students are drawn to such opportunities is to examine how students perceive engineering service experiences as an important source of learning technical and professional skills involved in the engineering disciplines. The following study investigates how students compare their service experience with their traditional coursework experience as a source of learning professional and technical skills in engineering. Students’ perception of where they learned professional and technical knowledge or skills provides an insight into the potential impact service-based interventions creates. This study compares service experiences with traditional coursework-based learning to examine the impact of service on students’ perception of learning sources. Students participating in an eclectic and large variety of engineering service experiences were surveyed. Engineering students on average identified that 45% of what they have learned about technical skills and 62% of what they have learned about professional skills was gained through their engineering service experience. Female students credited service experiences as their source of both professional and technical skills significantly higher than male students, and were consistent across academic years. Engineering students’ perceive service-based learning experiences, relative to their traditional course-based learning, to significantly impact what they know about technical and professional engineering outcomes.




Carberry, A. R., Lee, H.-S., & Swan, C. W. (2013). Student Perceptions of Engineering Service Experiences as a Source of Learning Technical and Professional Skills. International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, 8(1), 1–17.

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