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Develop a Better Way to Practice to Enhance Students’ Experience in Learning Dynamics

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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


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Page Numbers

26.483.1 - 26.483.10



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Paper Authors


Yan Tang American Society of Mechanical Engineers Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Yan Tang is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. Her current research in engineering education focuses on cognitive load theory, deliberate practice, and effective pedagogical practices. Her background is in dynamics and controls.

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Haiyan Bai University of Central Florida

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Haiyan Bai, PhD., is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Research Methodology in the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida. Her interests include resampling method, propensity score analysis, research design, measurement and evaluation, and the applications of statistical methods in educational research and behavioral sciences. She is actively involved educational and social science research projects. Dr. Bai has published books and many professional articles in refereed national and international journals. She has won several competitive awards at the University of Central Florida for her excellent teaching and research. Dr. Bai also served on several professional journal editorial boards, such as Journal of Experimental Education, Frontiers in Quantitative Psychology and Measurement, and Journal of Data Analysis and Information Processing. She is also the Fellow of the Academy for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership and the Faculty Fellow at The University of Central Florida.

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Develop a Better Way to Practice to Enhance Students’ Experience in Learning DynamicsAbstractIn this paper we will share how we design appropriate practice activities in the undergraduatedynamics course to enhance students’ learning experience and improve their problem solvingskills.Solving dynamics problems involves numerous knowledge and skills such as problemformulation, applying concepts of dynamics, and finding numerical solutions etc. Students oftenfind it difficult in learning dynamics because learning these concepts and solving problems haveproduced exceedingly high cognitive loads for their limited working memory. If learningactivities were not designed to integrate characteristics of working memory, long-term memory,or the intricate relations between them, students won’t be able to achieve truly learning viaeffectively using their working memory and gradually accumulating knowledge and skills inlong-term memory. Therefore, we need to modify learning materials and design practiceactivities to match students’ cognitive level. This teaching philosophy has been well explained inCognitive Load Theory (CLT). On the other hand, researchers in psychology have doneextensive work and theoretical development regarding elite performers’ characteristics. It hasbeen discovered that deliberate practice plays an important role in shaping expert performancebecause it leads to refinement and maintenance of the mediating mechanisms such as mentalrepresentation, anticipation skills, and control of motor actions etc.Based on CLT and principles of deliberate practice, we isolate elements of problem solvingskills, develop repetitive and successive refined exercises to improve each of the elements, andschedule the sequence of activities to achieve smoother transitions to more complex learningtasks. We will share details of applying deliberate practice in teaching dynamics. Both attitudinaland objective assessment will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of this teaching practice.The widely adopted Dynamic Concept Inventory (DCI) Version 1.0 will be used in our study asthe objective assessment tool.

Tang, Y., & Bai, H. (2015, June), Develop a Better Way to Practice to Enhance Students’ Experience in Learning Dynamics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23821

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