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Design Methods For Instructional Modules In Bioengineering

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



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Page Numbers

6.334.1 - 6.334.11

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Paper Authors

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John Bransford

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Sean P. Brophy

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1609

Design Methods for Instructional Modules in Bioengineering

Sean Brophy and John Bransford, Department of Biomedical Engineering / The Learning Technology Center Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN 37235


The objective of this paper is to describe a design method and rational for creating instructional modules in bioengineering. As part of a new Engineering Research Center (ERC), called VaNTH, experts from learning sciences, biomedical engineering, assessment, and learning technology have been collaborating to define a new method for designing effective learning environments for bioengineering education. The design of these modules is based on current research on human learning and educational settings detailed in a report from the National Academy of Science called How People Learn: Mind, Brain, Experience and School1. The report provides insights into what is necessary to design an effective learning environment and provides a framework that can be used to evaluate a learning environment. This paper describes the method we use to apply these criteria to the design of “instructional modules” for bioengineering education. The VaNTH ERC is using a challenge based instructional method supported by a software template called STAR.Legacy. This template has been used to create several modules reported in these proceedings. This document expands on how these modules are designed and the rational for the pedagogy for using these materials in a course. The final results are learning modules that can be shared and refined by others in the ERC and beyond.


Many people are working on methods to share instructional resources with others that teach similar content. For example, various web sites are collecting Java Applets and other resources that are useful in a variety of different content areas. However, these resources alone are not necessarily used in ways that optimize people's abilities to learn. We are designing a web-based method to organize learning activities and resources into cohesive, pedagogically sound modules of instruction that can be shared by the members of our VaNTH Engineering Research Center (ERC) (see for more information) and beyond. The objective is to create a method that allows these modules to be highly integrated with other modules --with the ultimate goal being to formulate a cohesive course. The VaNTH ERC has assembled a team of experts from the Learning Sciences, Bioengineering domains, Assessment and Evaluation and Learning Technologies to work together to define an effective learning environment that will optimize both instruction and learning. One of our initial steps has been to share our expertise across disciplines and discuss the implications on instruction. The Learning Scientists, Assessment

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Bransford, J., & Brophy, S. P. (2001, June), Design Methods For Instructional Modules In Bioengineering Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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