A systems approach to instructional change in academia

Juan M. Cruz, Cynthia Hampton, Stephanie G. Adams, Niyousha Hosseinichimeh

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The objective of this literature review (theory) paper is to present and describe a framework that illustrates factors in the academic system that drive or hinder the adoption of Research-Based Instructional Strategies (RBIS) in engineering education. Numerous initiatives to promote instructional change in engineering education have had low to moderate success. Such lack of success can be attributed to the fact that the academic system has numerous elements, which leads to a complexity that needs to be properly understood. We suggest that the low success rates from previous instructional change initiatives are due to a viewpoint of the academic system that does not account for the dynamic and detailed complexity of academia. By using a system perspective, this paper illustrates the internal elements of the complex academic system that have been shown to ultimately influence faculty to enact instructional change. To determine what factors are currently known to affect the success of such change initiatives, we reviewed the literature on instructional change in engineering and higher education. The refined search yielded 19 documents that were analyzed following several steps of constant comparative analysis. This review suggests the existence of at least 31 factors that can potentially impact the successful implementation of RBIS in the classroom. Hence, they could be barriers or drivers to instructional change in higher education. These 31 factors were classified and organized into six categories: 1) culture, 2) change management, 3) institutional support, 4) pedagogical knowledge and skills, 5) students´ experience, and 6) faculty motivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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