There are many terms in currency around the education world which display ambiguity of meaning. This is an attempt to define a vocabulary which clarifies at least what is meant when we use a word or phrase of jargon in the context of engineering education.  The following list is alphabetical: no further significance is intended by the order of terms.


Failure results when the expected or planned behaviour (eg of an engineered product or component) is not realised. There are those who argue that the word failure should never be used in association with student learning, since it should always be a formative experience.


Feedback is the process by which students are advised on the strengths and weaknesses of their work.  In the UK, the NSS (National Student Survey) has regularly revealed that students perceive this to be one of the weakest aspects of their education.

flipped classroom

In a conventional teaching environment lectures (face-to-face) are used to establish content knowledge while subsequent tutorials and assignments (homework) are used to develop understanding. In the flipped classroom approach, knowledge is acquired before the face-to-face sessions, via reading, on-line learning, video material or MOOCs.  The face-to-face class sessions are then used to develop understanding.


The fundamentals (or basics) of a subject are the axioms, theories and knowledge without which it would be impossible to appreciate, understand and learn more about the subject.