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Actively Constructing Interactive Engineering Learning Environments

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Student Learning, Problem Solving, & Critical Thinking 3

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.135.1 - 24.135.14



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Paper Authors


Nicole P Pitterson Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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I am a second year PhD student in the Engineering Education Department at Purdue University. I currently hold a MSc in Manufacturing Engineering from Western Illinois University. My research interest is eliciting students' conceptual understanding of AC circuits using an active learning approach. I work under the tutelage of Dr. Ruth Streveler.

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Ruth A. Streveler Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ruth A. Streveler is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Dr. Streveler has been the Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator of ten grants funded by the US National Science Foundation. She has published articles in the Journal of Engineering Education and the International Journal of Engineering Education and has contributed to the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. She has presented workshops to over 500 engineering faculty on four continents. Dr. Streveler’s primary research interests are investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science and helping engineering faculty conduct rigorous research in engineering education.

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Educational Research Methods DivisionTopic: “Actively constructing interactive engineering learning environments”Across the spectrum of engineering, science and mathematics education, recommendations havebeen made for the inclusion of active learning through the use of more innovative classroomactivities with the aim of engaging students in the learning process for increased achievementgains. Engineering education researchers have suggested, for the last twenty years, the benefitsof implementing active learning approaches to engineering learning environments since variousstudies have found the achievement gains have significantly improved when students take a moreactive role in their own learning (Smith, Sheppard, Johnson, & Johnson, 2005). However, thereexist diverse interpretations and discussions around the idea of what active learning means aswell as the types of teaching and learning approaches that have been utilized by engineeringfaculty aimed at including active learning in their course delivery. In a comparative literaturereview done by Chi (2009), it was discovered that there are significant differences in what hasbeen understood and applied in science classrooms as active learning. Consequently, Chi (2009)developed a framework of learning activities aimed at highlighting the different types of learningactivities that are and can be included in classrooms for maximized results. Building on the workof Chi (2009), this paper seeks to explore the implementation of active learning activities inengineering learning environments. This synthesis of previous work done in the space of activelearning in engineering classrooms will highlight conflicting views on what counts as activelearning, identify examples of active learning strategies that are currently being used and wherethey fit in the active-constructive-interactive framework as well as suggest innovativeapproaches that may be applied to engineering classrooms without much required change to theoverall content delivery.Chi, M. T. H. (2009). Active-constructive-interactive: A conceptual framework fordifferentiating learning activities. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1(1), 73-105.Smith, K. A., Sheppard, S. D., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2005). Pedagogies ofengagement: Classroom-based practices. Journal of Engineering Education, 95(2), 123-138.

Pitterson, N. P., & Streveler, R. A. (2014, June), Actively Constructing Interactive Engineering Learning Environments Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20026

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