Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


This is a qualitative case study of the complete implementation of systems-level learning (SLL) pedagogy throughout a mechatronics engineering department in a community college in the United States. SLL was developed from the German engineering apprenticeship model, resulting in engineering graduates with what our German counterparts call Handlungskompetenz. Graduates of these programs have the flexibility to quickly adapt to new engineering systems and situations in a self-directed way without months of on-the-job training. This skill is related to adaptive expertise and is not the type of skill traditionally taught to engineering students.

Chronological and descriptive analyses were performed on semi-structured interviews with the faculty and administrator stakeholders. Interview questions pertained to why SLL was implemented, how SLL was implemented, what stumbling blocks and best practices were identified in implementing SLL, and how the participants believed or did not believe the call for changes in engineering curriculum could be met by SLL. Theoretical constructs were developed from emergent themes to position the study for future research. Few studies exist on SLL implementation in the classroom and its curriculum integration. Findings of the study can inform faculty and administrators about institutional SLL implementation


244 pages




Northern Illinois University

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