Lifelong learning for software engineers


Lorna Uden

Alan Dix

Full reference:
Uden, L. and Dix, A. (2004). Lifelong learning for software engineers. Int. J. Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 14, Nos. 1/2, pp.101-110.
‘Higher education in the learning society’, Report of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education
Alan's pages on HCI Education


Software engineers need problem-solving, critical thinking and meta-cognitive skills in addition to their technical expertise. They must have lifelong learning skills to cope with the ever-changing nature of the software evolution. This paper describes case studies of how these lifelong learning skills can be acquired through problem-based learning. Due to the increasingly limited resources in higher education, students are having to adopt more independent and learner-centred approaches. In order to address the needs of such students, a final year computing science module under instructional software design (ISD) was developed in which students working in groups learned how to learn through problem-based learning (PBL). Studies over the two years of running the ISD module revealed that students who took the module became better students, and were able to transfer their learning to other modules and work. Feedback from graduates now in employment reveals how the module has enabled them to cope better with their software engineering jobs.

Keywords: problem-based learning; software engineering education; lifelong learning.

Alan Dix 15/4/2004