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The implementation of the European Higher Education Area offers us an excellent opportunity for discussing university teaching. It also enables the examination of new competence-based methodological models applied to the teaching of engineering. In the professional world nowadays, graduate engineers are not only required to have solid theoretical and experimental knowledge, since they are expected to show the necessary skills and abilities concerning the procedures involved in the practice of such knowledge (i.e. how to analyze, devise and operate systems). Their projects, moreover, are expected to benefit from some specific attitudes that may contribute to the development of their engineering careers (i.e. responsibility, initiative, self-reliance, leadership, teamwork, etc.). The concurrence of those three assets-knowledge, skills and abilities, and attitudes-defines a competence. This paper presents the work of a large group of university instructors of UNED from disparate branches of knowledge-engineering, pedagogy and philology-that investigate the use of role- playing and simulation of professional environments related to the power systems and the electricity market. This specific application has enabled us to address a set of general questions concerning the training of future engineers in the context of the European Higher Education Area.