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Development of Verification and Validation Engineering Design Skills through a Multi-year Cognitive Apprenticeship Laboratory Experience

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Laboratory Experiences in Mechanical, Materials and Thermal Systems

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.434.1 - 23.434.15



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Paper Authors


Allison L. Sieving Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University

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Allison Sieving is the Laboratory and Assessment Coordinator for the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in Biology from Bowling Green State University. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Basic Medical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering programs at Wayne State University, respectively. At Purdue, her work focuses on developing and implementing undergraduate laboratory and lecture courses that address the evolving needs of biomedical engineers, and managing the ABET assessment program for the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

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Marcia Pool Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Marcia A. Pool is an Instructional Laboratory Coordinator in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. She is responsible for overseeing and assessing junior level laboratories, bioinstrumentation and biotransport, and is involved with teaching and mentoring students in the Senior Design Capstone course. Recently, she has worked with colleagues to plan and implement a problem-based learning approach to the biotransport laboratory to improve students’ experimental design skills and has modified the course based on continual assessment practices during the first offering.

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Trisha Eustaquio Purdue University

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Rajtarun Madangopal Purdue University

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Alyssa Panitch PhD

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Kate Stuart Purdue University


Ann E Rundell Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ann Rundell is an Associate Professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. The Rundell research laboratory is devoted to developing effective quantitative approaches to design therapeutic and experimental strategies for the predictable manipulation of cellular and physiological processes in desired manners as well as refine the understanding of the underlying mechanisms. The research approach integrates mathematical modeling, systems analysis, and control theory directly with experiments on cellular and physiological systems. The ultimate goal is to advance tissue engineering, therapeutic design, and personalized medicine based upon validated quantitative approaches that combine theory with experiments and link the controls community with the life sciences and biomedical communities. Dr. Rundell is also actively involved in curriculum design and employs pedagogical advances towards engineering education. She was recently appointed the Vice Chair of the IFAC Technical Committee on Control in Society and serves as a member of the steering committee for the IEEE CSS Technical Committee on Healthcare and Medical Systems. She has co-authored more than 30 peer reviewed articles, is a senior member in IEEE, and received the NSF CAREER award in 2009.

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Scott Alan Jewett

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Development of Verification and Validation Engineering Design Skills through a Multi-year Cognitive Apprenticeship Laboratory ExperienceVerification and validation are vital steps in the engineering design process. Designing,implementing, and evaluating testing protocols demonstrates the effectiveness of a designsolution. Unfortunately, designing sufficient testing protocols is challenging for most students,even at the capstone design level. Most laboratory experiences follow a traditional format inwhich step-by-step procedures are presented. This cookbook approach reduces responsibility tocompletely understand the underlying mechanism, testing process, and analysis. To develop andenhance verification and validation skills, we implemented a cognitive apprenticeship verticallywithin undergraduate biomedical engineering laboratory courses offered at the sophomore,junior, and senior level1.To facilitate the vertical skill training and development process, two modules offered in thesophomore and junior laboratories introduce students to foundational components in experimentdesign such as, dependent and independent variables, randomization, data analysis, repeatability,block designs, and controlling for confounding factors.Beginning sophomore year, students are engaged in developing experimental design skillsthrough a tiered challenge model wherein instructors’ participation is focused on the modelingand coaching components of cognitive apprenticeship. This model gradually introduces andbuilds concept knowledge from basic to complex over 2 – 3 laboratories. In this process, studentsfirst learn a basic set of skills through a traditional laboratory experience. This is followed by alaboratory experience that showcases how the previously learned basic skills can be integratedinto a larger experimental design thereby reinforcing the learned skills. This cycle is concludedwith a challenge experience in which the learned skills must be deconstructed and reorganized tosolve an open-ended problem.In the junior year, students develop further responsibility in creating experimental design planswherein instructors’ participation is focused on the scaffolding and fading components ofcognitive apprenticeship. In this process, students develop an experimental design to addressopen-ended biotransport problems, design and perform associated experiments, and analyzeresults. Students are responsible for identifying factors and adequate testing methods to addressthe transport problem while instructors provide feedback and guidance, but do not direct theexperiment process.At the senior design capstone level, students assume complete responsibility for an entire projectwith verification and validation tests expected to demonstrate their solution meets the designconstraints and user needs. In this stage, students work from vetting a problem to generating aworking prototype. Instructor participation is focused upon the fading phase of cognitiveapprenticeship. However, instructors may need to revert to coaching and scaffolding phases.The vertical implementation of cognitive apprenticeship in a laboratory setting is a usefullearning strategy to prepare students for the testing aspects of the engineering design process.1 Collins, A., Brown, J.S., & Newman, S.E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the craftof reading, writing, and mathematics, Knowing Learning and Instructions Essays in Honor ofRobert Glaser, 8, 453-494.

Sieving, A. L., & Pool, M., & Eustaquio, T., & Madangopal, R., & Panitch, A., & Stuart, K., & Rundell, A. E., & Jewett, S. A. (2013, June), Development of Verification and Validation Engineering Design Skills through a Multi-year Cognitive Apprenticeship Laboratory Experience Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19448

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