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Educational Outreach Using Learning Theory Informed Modules

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Entrepreneurism in BME

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.500.1 - 9.500.5



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Paper Authors

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Alene Harris

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Stacy Klein-Gardner

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


Educational Outreach Using Learning-Theory-Informed Modules

Alene H. Harris, Ph.D., Stacy Klein, Ph.D. Department of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University / Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University


For the past four years bioengineering and learning science faculties of Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Harvard/MIT Health Sciences Technology have collaborated in the NSF-sponsored VaNTH Engineering Research Center for Bioengineering Education and Technology. Two of the Education Program goals are (1) to provide training in basic HPL philosophy and methodology to K-12 science teachers and to VaNTH institution graduate and undergraduate students for the development of bioengineering-related modules and (2) to raise awareness of bioengineering in general, particularly to K-12 students.1 Thus, a key thrust of this ERC is the development and dissemination of bioengineering-based secondary school materials and teaching strategies that incorporate current “How People Learn” (HPL) learning theory as set forth in the National Research Council’s How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School.2 This theory involves the integration of lesson elements that are knowledge-centered, learner-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered.

Learning Modules Design

Through the cooperative efforts of bioengineering and education professors, secondary teachers, and bioengineering undergraduate and graduate students, and education graduate students (facilitated through the sponsorship of Student Leadership Councils, Research Experience for Teachers programs and Partnerships in Education and Research programs), VaNTH outreach efforts now include a variety of bioengineering-influenced, inquiry-based modules for grades 5-12 classrooms. Each of these modules is designed using the Legacy Cycle, a challenged-base approach that takes students through six explicit phases of inquiry: (1) a challenge that provides enough background knowledge to enable them to engage in (2) the generation of ideas to determine what they know and need to know, (3) multiple perspectives of information from other sources, (4) opportunities to research and revise their initial thoughts, (5) opportunities to “test your mettle” and formatively self-assess conceptual understanding, and (6) go public activities that provide a solution to the original challenge.3 These six incorporate the four “centerednesses” identified above, as they provide opportunities for students to engage with appropriate and well-organized content (knowledge-centered), to relate this content to their own prior knowledge and experiences (student-centered), to check their own understanding/comprehension of their conceptualizations (assessment-centered), and to collaborate with one another in solving problems (community-centered).

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Harris, A., & Klein-Gardner, S. (2004, June), Educational Outreach Using Learning Theory Informed Modules Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13374

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