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Constructionist Learning for Environmentally Responsible Product Design

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.398.1 - 26.398.13



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Paper Authors


Kyoung-Yun Kim Wayne State University

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Dr. Kyoung-Yun Kim is an associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Wayne State University, where he directs the Computational Intelligence and Design Informatics (CInDI) Laboratory. Dr. Kim’s research focuses on design science; design informatics; semantic assembly design; transformative product design; product life-cycle modeling; design and manufacturing of soft products. Dr. Kim has received external funding from several U.S. federal agencies including NSF, NIDRR, VA, DOD, DOE, and industries including Ford and GM. Currently, Dr. Kim is the site director for the NSF Industry and University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for e-Design. Dr. Kim is an editorial board member of Journal of Integrated Design and Process Science. Dr. Kim received top cited article award (2005-2010) from Journal CAD and 2003 IIE Transactions Best Paper Award. Dr. Kim was a visiting professor at Kyung Hee University, South Korea from September 2013 to June 2014. Dr. Kim’s education includes a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from University of Pittsburgh.

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Carolyn E Psenka PhD Wayne State University

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Carolyn Psenka, PhD is a cultural anthropologist with research interests focused on the study of interactions of humans with technologies in everyday activities. Dr. Psenka is a Research Associate in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Wayne State University and is affiliated with the NSF I/UCRC Center for e-Design as a design anthropologist.

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Kathy Schmidt Jackson Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Kathy Jackson is a Senior Research Associate at Pennsylvania State University’s Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. In this position, she promotes Penn State’s commitment to enriching teaching and learning. Dr. Jackson works in all aspects of education including faculty development, instructional design, engineering education, learner support, and evaluation.

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Karl R Haapala Oregon State University

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Dr. Karl R. Haapala is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University, where he directs the Industrial Sustainability Laboratory and is Assistant Director of the OSU Industrial Assessment Center. He received his B.S. (2001) and M.S. (2003) in Mechanical Engineering, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an NSF IGERT trainee (2004-2008), from Michigan Technological University. He has served in a variety of capacities within ASME, IIE, and SME, and has been inducted into the honor societies of Pi Tau Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Xi. His research addresses sustainable manufacturing challenges, including life cycle engineering methods, manufacturing process performance modeling, and sustainable engineering education. He has received funding from DOE, NIST, NSF, the U.S. Army, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oregon Metals Initiative, and industry. His work has appeared in more than 60 peer-reviewed proceedings and journal articles.

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Constructionist Learning for Environmentally Responsible Product DesignXXX University, XXX University, and XXX University are developing a distributedcyberlearning environment to facilitate the consideration of different human controlled/initiatedimpacts on the natural environment through team-based and personalized design activities. Thisinteractive learning environment, Constructionism in Learning: Sustainable Life CycleEngineering (CooL:SLiCE), supports a constructionist line of inquiry within design practice toenable students to attain a deeper conceptual understanding. Constructionism, an expansion ofconstructivist learning theory, is a term coined by Seymour Papert to depict “learning by making.”Constructionism is concerned with learners’ engagement in building personally meaningfulartifacts and their related creative and re-creative activities that represent the developmentalcycle. Recognizing that learners are involved in complex activities that require thinking,reflecting, and interpretation of the same reality, complex education design (CED) will be usedto design the proper learning framework.The envisioned learning environment will provide sustainable life cycle engineering knowledgefor personalized design activities. Given that human/consumer behavior related to sustainabilityis complex, this project seeks to study facets of “sustainable product design complexity”(including components, interconnections, and functionality) and “educational design complexity”(from the constructionist learning approach with its three epistemological principles ofcomplexity, instability, and inter-subjectivity). Sustainable product design complexity has multi-dimensional implications for a designer’s choices due to the difficulty of assessing consumerattitudes toward sustainability and understanding how consumer behavior coincides withattitudes. Students face similar challenges in learning contexts as sustainability itself is acomplex domain with multiple technical disciplines (components), interactions among them(interconnections), and purposeful uses (functionality). Within a sustainability learning context,some students need more support, while others thrive on autonomy. In accord with aconstructionist approach, CooL:SLiCE aims to allow customization to facilitate students’learning needs.This paper focuses on assessing sustainable product design complexity and educational designcomplexity to support the constructionist learning method. In this work, we hypothesize thatdifferences in the level of needed autonomy exist between first year undergraduate learners andupper classmen, and that the developed CooL:SLiCE environment can moderate thesedifferences. The eventual goal is to use assessment items developed from this study to test theappropriateness of the CooL:SLiCE framework (e.g., for the effectiveness of constructedknowledge in deep learning, the impacts of different autonomy levels on student learning, andlearners’ engagement). Finally, this research discusses how the assessment items can explain therelationship between constructionist learning and deep learning for environmentally responsibleproduct design.

Kim, K., & Psenka, C. E., & Jackson, K. S., & Haapala, K. R. (2015, June), Constructionist Learning for Environmentally Responsible Product Design Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23737

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