Who am I learning to become? Integrating personal development in curriculum design

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

43 Downloads (Pure)


In this case study, we answer the question: what are design characteristics for a personal development line integrated in undergraduate engineering curricula? We investigated the development of such a line in a Bachelor of Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences in The Netherlands. We documented and analysed the preparation of and discussions during three design sessions, where teachers and students collaboratively created the personal development line.
This personal development line has two main aims: to guide students in developing their personal and professional identities and promote self-directed learning in the curriculum. Reflective skills are playing a key role in this. Four levels on which students reflect in relation to personal development in the curriculum were identified: self, education, practice, and society. Each Personal Development Week in the design proposal touches upon one of these levels and makes use of three generic elements: inspiration, contemplation, and perspective. Three tensions in the curriculum arose during the design sessions. First, the question if it is necessary to give students direction by assignments or to trust they will reflect by themselves.Second, if that direction should be shaped by specific writing assignments or if students should be left to work with a free form. Finally, if the reflection should be connected to what students learn inside the university or rather to societal challenges that they perceive outside of their studies.
The personal development line in this research is one answer to the questions arising from these three tensions, yet it is not the only answer. Both the identified tensions and the designed reflection model can be a starting point for other curriculum designers to position personal development in their curriculum. Personal development can then become a key ingredient in the education of a diverse group of reflexive engineers at universities anywhere in the world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International CDIO Conference
EditorsReidar Lyng, Jens Bennedsen, Lamjed Bettaieb
ISBN (Electronic)978-82-303-6186-3
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventCDIO 2023: 19th International CDIO Conference - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 26 Jun 202329 Jun 2023


ConferenceCDIO 2023: 19th International CDIO Conference


  • Curriculum development
  • personal development
  • self-directed learning
  • reflection
  • reflexivity
  • standards: 2, 3, 7, 9, 11


Dive into the research topics of 'Who am I learning to become? Integrating personal development in curriculum design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this