June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.321.1 - 23.321.21
Computer Simulation and Animation in Engineering Dynamics: A Critical Review and AnalysisAbstractEngineering dynamics is a high-enrollment, high-impact, and core course that nearly all studentsin mechanical, aerospace, civil, biological, and biomedical engineering programs are required totake. The course covers a broad spectrum of mathematical and physics concepts and requiresstudents to have strong skills in abstract thinking and spatial visualization. Many dynamicsinstructors have adopted a variety of instructional tools, such as computer simulation andanimation (CSA), to improve teaching and learning in this important course. However, thereported benefit of these CSA programs varies among different learners. Many CSA programsare not designed based on cognitive principles, particularly Cognitive Load Theory (CLT), tomaximize student learning outcomes.The goal of the present study is to investigate the cognitive and technical constructs of CSAstudies by performing a critical and systematic literature review and analysis on the effect ofCSA on student learning in engineering dynamics. Common study characteristics wereidentified and categorized from the investigation of cognitive and technical aspects of CSA, andwere used as criteria to synthesize and compare the reported studies. On the cognitive side, eachstudy’s outcome was analyzed based on the variations of learner control on CAS programs. Asproved by many studies, CSA can reduce extraneous cognitive load and improve learning bypermitting learners control the pacing of CSA, segmenting CSA into smaller chunks toexperience the changes at learners’ discretion, and manipulating the flow of contents appearingto learners. On the technical side, the accessibility of the web-based CSA modules from thelearner’s side with respect to types of software (i.e., proprietary and open source software) and avariety of platforms and devices was analyzed.The research finding made from the present study reveal that many existing CSA programsdeveloped for engineering dynamics were not designed to adequately address cognitiveprinciples associated with CLT to reduce cognitive load and enhance student learning. AlthoughCSA was reported to improve student learning and enhance spatial visualization, most ofassessment studies relied on students’ self-reported questionnaire surveys, which might notrepresent true learning gains of students. In addition, many studies were performed withoutcontrol group and random assignment of student participants, which presented significant threatsto the validity of these assessments. Most CSA were designed to allow for student access fromany traditional personal computers (PCs) or laptops without the use of any proprietary software.The research findings made from the present study will help design or redesign better CSAprograms and maximize student learning gains in engineering dynamics.
Ha, O., & Fang, N. (2013, June), Computer Simulation and Animation in Engineering Mechanics: A Critical Review and Analysis Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19335
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