Training engineers for innovation: Pedagogical initiatives for new challenges - Sciences Humaines et Sociales Access content directly
Journal Articles European Journal of Education Year : 2019

Training engineers for innovation: Pedagogical initiatives for new challenges


The injunction to innovate which has permeated our societies in the last few decades has had a significant impact on engineers and their training. The idea of progress has since taken a back seat to the quest for innovation which saves time, space and reduces aims to short term performance objectives. However, marked by the technologism and productivism of the 20th century, the idea of innovation has also absorbed the new principles of sustainability and responsibility which have imposed themselves upon engineering research and activities in a henceforth internationalised world. It is within this context that engineer training institutions have sought to counter the injunctions to innovation and the stresses and strains that they produce. Based on three studies carried out in Europe and in several developing countries in North Africa and South East Asia, this article examines the curricula the institutions have implemented in order to observe current trends in innovation training initiatives in relation to locally‐perceived expectations and requirements. We have observed that technologism and productivism, which are still very present in the principles which guide European engineer training, are in competition with the principles of low‐cost engineering which satisfies user requirements and respects environmental constraints. As for the pedagogical initiatives, the phenomena of standardisation and commodification of higher education have led to the development of active learning (projects, problem‐based learning, fablabs, etc.). However, studies demonstrate that pedagogical orientation depends on how innovation is conceptualised and varies according to the scale of the educational institutions. A closer examination of the concepts of innovation reveals the epistemological issues concerning the way the engineering problems have been constructed.


No file

Dates and versions

hal-02376324 , version 1 (22-11-2019)



Denis Lemaître. Training engineers for innovation: Pedagogical initiatives for new challenges. European Journal of Education, 2019, vol. 54 (n° 4), pp. 566-576. ⟨10.1111/ejed.12365⟩. ⟨hal-02376324⟩
116 View
0 Download



Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More