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A Closer Look At The Vanth/Erc Biomedical Engineering Modules: A Method To Examine The Effects Of Selected Core Components Of The “Legacy Cycle” And Hpl Model

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

BME Assessment and the VaNTH ERC

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.13.1 - 12.13.9



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Paper Authors


David Cordray Vanderbilt University

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David S. Cordray, PhD is Professor of Psychology and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. He is currently the Thrust Leader in Assessment and Evaluation for the VaNTH ERC. Professor Cordray has written extensively on research and evaluation methodology in education and human services areas. He has conducted experimental, quasi-experimental and meta-analytic assessments of intervention effectiveness in education, health, welfare, and other human service areas.

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Alene Harris Vanderbilt

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Alene H. Harris, Ph.D. is a Research Asst. Professor of Education at Vanderbilt University and serves as the Director of Education Programs of the VaNTH ERC. Her research interest is in effective instruction, and she provides workshops in designing and delivering HPL-influenced Legacy Cycle lessons.

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Thomas Harris Vanderbilt University

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Thomas R. Harris, MD, PhD is the Orrin Henry Ingram Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Medicine at Vanderbilt University. He is currently Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His current interests focus on the development of learning sciences and learning technology for bioengineering. He is currently the director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Technologies.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Closer Look at the VaNTH/ERC Biomedical Engineering Modules: A Method to Examine of the Effects of Selected Core Components of the “Legacy Cycle” and HPL Model

Abstract Educational innovations developed within the Vanderbilt-Northwestern-Texas- Harvard/MIT Engineering Research Center (VaNTH/ERC) for Bioengineering Educational Technologies have been tested using a sequence of experimental, quasi- experimental, and non-experimental methods. More specifically, many of the innovations were first tested using randomized experiments or high quality quasi-experiments. When modules were shown to be effective under experimental conditions, subsequent assessments relied on non-experimental methods (e.g., pre-to-post gain) or simply the achieved level of average performance. Our overall all (i.e., meta-analytic) assessment of experimental and quasi- experimental studies have shown that they are effective in enhancing the learning outcomes for college and high school students. This paper demonstrates a set of methods that are used to probe the effects of multiple, sequential assessments of the same innovation, offering a broad scale model for monitoring the educational accomplishments of programs. This approach attempts to capitalize on available experimental and non- experimental as a means of testing effectiveness and monitoring subsequent performance. We also present analyses that show the unique contribution (to learning and other outcomes) of variations in specific core components of the Legacy Cycle and its learning principles.

I. Introduction

The Vanderbilt-Northwestern-Texas-Harvard/MIT Engineering Research Center (VaNTH/ERC) for Bioengineering Educational Technologies has developed over 60 innovative instructional modules in a variety of bioengineering areas (See Harris et al.1). These innovations are based on the model of learning and instruction, (referred to as HPL for “How People Learn”) described by Bransford et al.2 in a volume issued by the National Academy of Sciences entitled How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Prior analyses have shown that a subset of all VaNTH-sponsored modules and course enhancements are effective. Using meta-analytic methods to quantitatively combine the results from multiple studies, we have shown that HPL-inspired innovations are effective for student learning (see Cordray, Pion, A.Harris, & Norris3). An updated meta-analysis, including 19 studies that yielded 28 effect size estimates, revealed an average effect size of 0.644 standard deviation unit. The most common ES is expressed as ES = (MT - MC)/ SDpooled. or the mean (M) difference between treatment (MT) and control (MC) conditions, divided by the pooled standard deviation (SD) across conditions. However, additional analyses suggest that the results for well executed experimental studies are somewhat smaller (0.441 standard deviation units) but they are still regarded as moderate effects (See Cordray, Harris & Gilbert4). Almost all of the studies that were synthesized used the “Legacy Cycle” as a means of operationalizing the HPL model (Schwartz et al. 5).


Cordray, D., & Harris, A., & Harris, T. (2007, June), A Closer Look At The Vanth/Erc Biomedical Engineering Modules: A Method To Examine The Effects Of Selected Core Components Of The “Legacy Cycle” And Hpl Model Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2472

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