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Discovery Learning in Mechanical Engineering Design: Case-based Learning or Learning by Exploring?

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

ETD Design II

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.5.1 - 25.5.10



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Paper Authors


Nina Robson Texas A&M University

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Nina Robson is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Department at Texas A&M University and an Assistant Researcher in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of California, Irvine.

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Ibrahim Savas Dalmis Namık Kemal University

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Ibrahim Savas Dalmis is Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering Design and Manufacturing Division, with a bachelor's from Marmara University Faculty of Technology, Department of Mechanical Education, a graduate degree from from Marmara University Fine Arts Institute, Department of Industrial Design, and a Ph.D. from University of Thrace, Department of Agricultural Machinery.

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Vasil Trenev Bulgarian Academy of Science

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Vasil Trenev is Head of the Department Unique Instruments Components and Structures at the Institute of System Engineering and Robotics of the Bulgarian Academy of Science.

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Engineering Projects that Enhance Learning ETD  IT/IET  Interest  Group AbstractInductive methods of teaching impose logistical problems and requiresignificant planning and resources. Relative to traditional deductiveteaching, they certainly are not trivial to implement. At the same time,inductive teaching and learning techniques are more likely to arousestudent resistance and interpersonal conflicts. Moreover, instructionalmethods that call for the use of team-based learning pose additionalproblems, such as the needs to assess individual student performance in ateam environment and to prepare students to deal with communicationproblems that arise in cooperative work.Discovery Learning is an extreme form of inductive teaching wherestudents are presented with a challenge and left to work out the solution ontheir own. The instructor may provide feedback in response to students’efforts but offers little direction. This form of inductive teaching has rarelybeen used in undergraduate classes. There is little empirical evidence forits effectiveness in that setting.This paper discusses two different challenges, presented in twoconsecutive semesters as part of the XXX class at XXX University, usingDiscovery learning approach.We compare the effectiveness of the discovery learning approach in thetwo undergraduate classes, based on empirical evidence and students’perceptions. In the end, the paper summarizes some of the lessons learnedand plans for future activities using discovery teaching and learningapproach.

Robson, N., & Dalmis, I. S., & Trenev, V. (2012, June), Discovery Learning in Mechanical Engineering Design: Case-based Learning or Learning by Exploring? Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20761

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