Experts in Teams – An experiential learning method

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This study discusses the pedagogical characteristics of the hands-on nterdisciplinary innovation course Experts in Teams (EiT) of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

EiT is a 10 ECTS course mandatory to all fifth semester students on any engineering program at the Technical Faculty of SDU. Course duration is 12 weeks with two weekly sessions of which only one is teacher controlled. In 2016 EiT involved approximately 425 students, 22 teaching resources, and 6
companies. These numbers will increase in the years to come.

Traditionally we distinguish between practical courses and theoretical courses. Most of the practical courses are group work along the lines of project based learning. EiT is in a way both. It is a practical course in as much as our students get hands-on experience with interdisciplinary team work and innovation processes. EiT is a theoretical course in as much as our students are taught various tools that aid and guide them in the innovation process and in the interdisciplinary team work.

The theoretical foundations of EiT viewed as a teaching method is experiential learning and its derivative project based learning. In the beginning of the 12 weeks course period EiT is taught much like a traditional theoretical course. After only a few weeks this all changes and the teachers become facilitators
of the students’ own learning which is relevance-steered by the innovation project at hand. These characteristics are typical for experiential learning and in this way EiT becomes a learning method rather than a teaching method.

Besides discussing the pedagogical characteristics of EiT, the study also gives a general introduction to EiT as it was taught at SDU fall 2016 as well as a brief review of the basic theory behind experiential learning. As such this study serves both as an introduction to e.g. new teachers of EiT but also as a starting point for a clarification of the features that makes EiT an experiential learning endeavor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring Teaching for Active Learning in Engineering Education : Proceedings of the ETALEE 2017 Conference
EditorsJørgen B. Røn
PublisherIngeniørUddannelsernes Pædagogiske Netværk
Publication date23. May 2017
ISBN (Print)978-87-998898-1-5
Publication statusPublished - 23. May 2017
Event2nd Exploring Teaching for Active Learning in Engineering Education - Cortex Park, Odense, Denmark
Duration: 23. May 201724. May 2017
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd Exploring Teaching for Active Learning in Engineering Education
LocationCortex Park

Bibliographical note

Steffen Kjær Johansen is assistant professor at the center SDU Engineering Operations Management at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. He is coordinating the Experts in Teams course at TEK/SDU Odense.


  • hands-on innovation teaching
  • interdisciplinarity
  • teaching method
  • learning method
  • experiential learning
  • project-based learning
  • Kolb’s learning theory


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