Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Design in Engineering Education
It is argued that there is an increasing need for the incorporation of educational theory into engineering design, build, and test (DBT) courses. In particular, we contend that incremental improvements to such courses must rely on such theories as they apply to the experiences of students in preceding iterations of the course. In our course XXXX, a senior-level engineering DBT course, we have incorporated David Kolb’s experiential learning construct into the fabric of course activities, assignments, and structured learning exercises. One such structured learning exercise is the ‘learning statement,’ (LS) a reflective exercise in which students directly translate experience into learning and articulate expected future value from that learning. We have collected learning statement data from four sections of the course spanning two years, and now seek to incorporate learning theories into our understanding of learning reported by the students over the course of their design project.
In particular, we are interested in using the reported learning of the students, interpreted through learning theories, and leveraging that new understanding to make changes and improvements to the course to improve future learning outcomes for students in the course. Specifically, we intend to incorporate Piaget’s (1977) cognitive constructivism and Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory as manifested in David Kolb’s experiential learning, some constructs from motivation theories. In employing the learning statement as an instrument for a formative assessment, we attempt to identify each individual student’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Further, as we share learning statement ‘best practices’ in XXXX, we create opportunities for social interactions to come into play by challenging students to articulate their learning through the LS. We posit that engineering design education stands to benefit from the incorporation of robust learning theories pioneered in other disciplines. We theorize that incorporating these models more thoroughly into our own approaches to building engineering DBT courses will likely improve our students’ own outcomes.
In this paper, we leverage a text-mining approach to demonstrate a framework for interpreting self-assessment data collected from students in our course, XXXX, through the lens of educational theory. Specifically, we will identify each student’s ZPD by text-mining student LS over the course of a DBT project and examine the differences between LS students prepare individually and as a team through the lens of social constructivist theory. In general we find that, for a large number of students, the self-assessment exercise prompts students to acquire new knowledge and apply it unaided (per the ZPD) in particular areas important to forming and planning with a team, developing concepts, and critically analyzing the design process, though for most this transition occurs for most late in the DBT project.
REFERENCES Piaget, J. (1977). The role of action in the development of thinking. In W. F. Overton & J. M. Gallagher, Knowledge and development (pp. 17–42). Springer-Verlag, US. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Autrey, J. L., & Ghaisas, S. S., & Ge, X., & Siddique, Z., & Mistree, F. (2018, June), An Experiential Learning Framework for Improving Engineering Design, Build, and Test Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29786
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