A Proposal for Introducing Optional CDIO Standards

A Proposal for Introducing Optional CDIO Standards

Johan Malmqvist, Kristina Edström and Ron Hugo

The CDIO standards are a key part of the CDIO framework by defining the distinguishing features of a CDIO program, by serving as guidelines for educational reform, and by providing a tool for continuous improvement (Crawley et al., 2014).

The CDIO standards were initially presented in 2005 (Brodeur & Crawley, 2005) and described more fully in Crawley et al. (2007). Rubrics for evaluating programs according to the standards were introduced in 2010. The CDIO standards have since been updated to version 2.0 (Crawley et al, 2014) and the rubrics have been further modified (Bennedsen et al., 2016). These modifications have been relatively minor and have not changed the scope or main contents of the standards.

During this time period the external context of engineering education has evolved, with a stronger focus on sustainable development, innovation and entrepreneurship, internationalization, sociotechnical problems, multidisciplinarity, digitization, to only mention a few factors. Moreover, recent pedagogical development work conducted within the CDIO community (and by others) has not been considered in the CDIO standards. Further, the CDIO standards are based on the premise of a single-cycle engineering degree, not a two-cycle bachelor+master degree. There is need to revisit the CDIO standards to evaluate if they still are valid as a benchmark for an internationally leading engineering program.

In this paper, we * Critically examine the existing CDIO standards in order to find out if they capture the current and emergent context of engineering education. If motivated, propose modifications of the current standards. * Propose a process and a structure that supports a controlled expansion of the CDIO standards, in consideration of the pedagogical developments within and beyond the CDIO community. A set of requirements for an additional CDIO standard will be proposed, including that a new standard should reflect the main characteristics of a CDIO program, that it should be generally applicable, i.e. not discipline-specific and that it should be evident in a substantial number of CDIO programs as a distinguishing feature. * Identify and elaborate a set of potential additional CDIO standards. The paper examines candidates for additional CDIO standards, possible including entrepreneurship, leadership, internationalization, mathematics, ethics and sustainability.

The ultimate aim of the paper is to propose a draft version of the CDIO standards v 3 that can serve as the basis for future discussion, refinement and possibly adaption by the CDIO community.


Bennedsen, J., Georgsson, F., Kontio, J. (2016) Updated Rubric for Self-Evaluation (v 2.1), Proceedings of the 2016 International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland.

Brodeur, B., Crawley, E. (2005) Program Evaluation Aligned With the CDIO Standards, Proceedings of the 2005 ASEE Conference.

Crawley, E., Malmqvist, J., Östlund, S., Brodeur, D. (2007) Rethinking Engineering Education, 1st edition, Springer-Verlag, New York.

Crawley, E., Malmqvist, J., Östlund, S., Brodeur, D., Edström, K. (2014) Rethinking Engineering Education, 2nd edition, Springer-Verlag, New York.

Proceedings of the 13th International CDIO Conference in Calgary, Canada, June 18-22 2017

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