South African Journal of Higher Education

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A four quadrant whole brain approach in innovation and engineering problem solving to facilitate teaching and learning of engineering students

E Horak, T Steyn, A-L de Boer


Engineering curricula traditionally favour the development of analytical and technical skills. There is a worldwide recognition that this bias needs to be addressed to also develop "non-technical" skills. During 1999 the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), by which human thinking style preferences can be described, was used as facilitating tool to enhance the learning of non-technical skills of first year civil engineering students at the University of Pretoria. The knowledge pertaining to the engineering students' preferred thinking styles was used as a point of departure to foster an awareness for the whole brain concept and the existence of diversity in thinking style preferences. This diversity has implications for teaching and learning style preferences that pose challenges for all classroom practices. This article demonstrates, with a few selected examples, the application of a four quadrant whole brain approach in teaching and learning facilitation of non-technical skills to first year engineering students.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.15(3) 2001: 202-209

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