June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.250.1 - 26.250.13
Assessing the Impact of Game Based Pedagogy on the Development of Communication Skills for EngineersCommunication is a vital component of education for any discipline, including engineering. Inthe past, engineers’ lack of communication among themselves as well as with colleagues fromdifferent fields has resulted in devastating outcomes, such as the BP Oil spill in 2010. A lack ofcommunication between the executives, engineers, and the Bureau of Ocean EnergyManagement Regulation and Enforcement resulted in the loss of eleven lives and approximatelytwo hundred million gallons of crude being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. Our study hasinvestigated the impact that game-based learning, a form of active learning shown to increase astudent’s interest and motivation, has on the development of oral and written communicationskills within a sophomore level chemical engineering class. Game-based learning incorporatesgame design elements, such as instantaneous feedback and scaffolding techniques, into non-game contexts in order to push students to the edge of their capabilities.In the spring 2014 semester, two sections of this chemical engineering course were taught. Onesection used game-based pedagogy, and the control section used other active learning strategies,such as think-pair share, group discussion and case studies. However, the same communicationcurriculum was delivered to both sections. Final written reports and video infomercialsproduced as part of a semester long design project were evaluated by two analysts. The resultswere then compared to determine the impact of game-based learning on students’ achievement incommunication skills, both written and oral. The written report was evaluated using the WrittenCommunication VALUE rubric, which was developed by faculty experts sponsored by theAssociation of American Colleges and Universities. This VALUE rubric evaluates a writtenreport based upon five categories- context of and purpose for writing, content development,genre and disciplinary conventions, sources and evidence, and the control of syntax andmechanics. The video infomercial was evaluated using the Elevator Pitch Evaluation Rubric,created by faculty at Rowan University for a sophomore-level design course. This rubricconsiders content, organization, style, and delivery. Both the written and oral assignments weredouble coded to ensure the quality of the assessment, and an inter-rater reliability measure wascalculated.This study also examined whether students’ perception of their development of communicationskills correlated with their performance on the oral and written assignments. To assess this, aselection of questions from the National Survey of Student Engagement pertaining to perceptionsof communications skill development was compared to the scores achieved on the written andoral communications assignments.In a comparison of written reports from the games versus non-games sections of the course, themean overall score was higher for the games-based teams (n=13) compared to the non-games-based teams (n=14), although not significantly. This was likely influenced by the small samplesize. This trend also existed with the mean scores for each dimension of the rubric. The samewas generally true for the oral (infomercial) results. The games-based teams scored higher thanthe non-games-based teams on four of the five rubric dimensions, although not significantly.
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