The present article reports a computer-aided teaching strategy, which is novel, using a MATLAB toolbox (i.e. SimMechanics) for project-based learning in a mechanical engineering robotics course (i.e. robot analysis). The effectiveness of the proposed teaching strategy was evaluated using multiple lenses of critical reflection such as student-reflection using numerous students’ surveys, and students’ grades comparison. Furthermore, the performance of this new teaching strategy was compared with a traditional teaching method, during which, traditional MATLAB solvers (e.g. ODE) were employed rather than SimMechanics. The results showed that the proposed teaching strategy helped students more than traditional teaching method to better understand and visualize ‘robot analysis’ concepts such as 3D drawing, dynamic modelling, and solving differential equations. The majority of students were more involved in learning, were able to achieve better learning outcomes, and performances.