June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Educational Research and Methods
13.236.1 - 13.236.15
Assessment of a Blended Product Lifecycle Management Course Utilizing Online and Face-to-Face Delivery Mechanisms
Employees in the fields of engineering and technology must frequently receive continuing education in order to remain competitive. One solution to this problem is to provide employees with continuing education from academic experts in a distance learning format; bridging the divide between academia and industry. This paper will introduce a study that investigated the effectiveness of a new blended learning course aimed at engineers actively engaged in industry by means of a mixed research methodology. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) techniques and theories were taught, focusing on the area of solid part modeling and surface modeling using a high-end computer-aided design (CAD) software program. The 10-week course was delivered using a blended learning format in which both distance learning (through online lectures and demonstrations) and experiential learning (through hand’s on computer labs) were incorporated. All of the students were engineers or technologists at The Boeing Company, located in the greater Seattle, Washington area. This study investigates the course through different methodologies (quantitative and qualitative), reporters (students and instructors), and information (course effectiveness, satisfaction, and transportability). A pre-test/post-test design was used to test the learning outcomes on PLM theoretical knowledge and CAD skills. Quantitative survey data were also collected from students and instructors in the form of Likert- scale responses. In addition to these quantitative data, qualitative data were also collected. These data were obtained through short questionnaires throughout the course as well as follow-up interviews with students two months after the conclusion of the course. These interviews helped to enrich the quantitative data by providing explanations of students’ experiences in the class in more detail and investigating how well the course content relates to their career. The two-month follow-up interviews with students also provided insight on the transportability of the course content into the employees’ job tasks after completion of the course. The goal of this research is to determine if the teaching of PLM theories and high-end CAD skills can effectively be taught in a blended learning format.
Historically, corporate educators do not incorporate Learning Science research methods into industry training programs and academia sometimes struggles to develop partnerships with industry in order to apply advancing technology, business processes, and global competencies needed to retool the 21st century workforce. This research study is predicated on the following: supporting a strong academic-industry partnership model will provide the framework for the reexamination of instructional approaches in aeronautical and mechanical engineering, bridging the gap between theoretical and procedural knowledge.
Design and Logic
Recently there have been renewed initiatives aimed at developing rigorous standards for engineering education.1 Supporting this mindset, the nature of developmental research has been
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