Cultivate the Problem Exploration Skills for Biomedical Innovation

George Tan, Sampa Halder, Luke LeFebvre

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The majority of engineering students perceive themselves merely as problem solvers and are less concerned about finding a problem. However, the lack of ability to find a valuable problem from the real world is one of the major causes of invention failure. Problem finding is absent in most engineering curricula, even in design courses because most problems are still provided by a client or instructor. To address the need for training the next-generation of innovators, we developed an undergraduate elective, Biomedical Innovation, in which Industrial Engineering students teamed with medical students to identify authentic problems of clinical significance and propose engineering solutions. This course, which asks students to analyze the mechanism and scope of a problem-a skill highly desired for its potential in innovation and entrepreneurship-fills a unique curricular gap. The survey of learning experiences showed statistically significant differences between pre- and post-course scores in self-efficacies, which suggests that students saw improvement in the ratings of their learning in five target areas: (A) background research skills, (B) critical thinking and ideation, (C) project management and teamwork, (D) technical communication skills, and (E) interest in medical engineering.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Luke LeFebvre (PhD, Wayne State University, 2010) is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Kentucky. He has taught public speaking for two decades and been a course director. His research explores classroom communication and instructional processes as well as the history of communication studies associated with the introductory public speaking course. Recent articles appear in Communication Education, Communication Quarterly, Communication Studies, Communication Teacher, Imagination, Cognition and Personality, Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, Journal of Educational Technology Systems, Review of Communication, and the Southern Communication Journal. He is the recipient of external funding from the National Science Foundation and National Leadership Grants for Libraries.

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DUE-2013484.

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2023.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)


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