With widespread industry feedback on engineering graduates’ lack of technical skills and research demonstrating that higher education does not effectively facilitate the development of open-ended problem-solving competencies, many educators are attempting to implement measures that address these concerns. In order to properly formulate sensible interventions that result in meaningful improvements in student outcomes, useful educational measurement and analysis approaches are needed. Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) has rapidly emerged as an effective, theoretically informed ‘toolkit’ offering a suite of dimensions through which to observe, analyze, interpret, and design teaching and learning practices. LCT Semantics has been used to help engineering educators unpack both levels of engineering knowledge abstraction and the complexity of engineering terms, while LCT Specialization focuses on knowledge practices (using the epistemic plane) and enables a visualization and differentiation between kinds of phenomena and the fixed versus open-ended methods with which to approach a particular phenomenon. Drawing on a range of initiatives to enable an improved practical grasp of fluid mechanics concepts, this paper presents a description and graphic LCT analysis of student learning that has been designed to anchor the ‘purist’ principles underpinning applied fluid mechanics concepts (such as in piping and pump network design) by way of concerted ‘doctrinal’ practices, and the exposure to more open-ended practical situations involving peer learning/group work, allowing educators to visualize the code clash between the curriculum and the world of work.
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