Learning Mechatronics : In Collaborative, Experimental and International settings

Abstract: The academic subject of mechatronics has been definedpreviously in numerous publications. This study aims atanalyzing mechatronics by using categories developed within theeducational science of Didactics. The result of the analysis,that relies on data from mechatronics education at KTH andother universities, shows that the identity of mechatronics canbe described as thematic, and the legitimacy as functional,which gives implications for the questions of communication andselection: what should be taught, and how. This is combinedwith a study of the evolution of the subject of mechatronics,where it is possible to see the gradually changing identity,from a combination of a number of disciplinary subjects to onethematic subject. The first part of the thesis concludes that mechatronics isautonomous, thematic and functional. Teaching and learningmechatronics according to the identity and legitimacy of thesubject benefits from collaborative, experimental andinternational settings. The functional legitimacy todayrequires the collaborative and the international setting,meaning that the mechatronics employer requires these skillswhen employing a mechatronic engineer. Further, an exemplifyingselection requires the experimental setting, in particular whencomparing a representative selection with the reproduction ofknowledge, and an exemplifying selection with the creation ofknowledge. To conclude, there are a number of important aspects to takeinto account when teaching and learning mechatronics. Three ofthese aspects, collaborative, experimental and internationalare suggested as important, and also a direct consequence ofthe identity of mechatronics. This thesis shows that thesethree aspects are indeed possible to integrate intomechatronics education, which will benefit greatly fromthis.