Engineering students' understanding of the role of experimentation
Resource constraints have forced engineering schools to reduce laboratory provisions in undergraduate courses. In many instances hands-on experimentation has been replaced by demonstrations or computer simulations. Many engineering educators have cautioned against replacing experiments with simulations on the basis that this will lead to a misunderstanding of the role of experimentation in engineering practice. However, little is known about how students conceptualize the role of experimentation in developing engineering understanding. This study is based on interviews with third-year mechanical engineering students. Findings are presented on their perceptions in relation to the role of experimentation in developing engineering knowledge and practice.