June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.446.1 - 15.446.17
Effects of Service Learning Implemented in an Introductory Engineering Course on Student Attitudes and Abilities in the Context of ABET Outcomes
A semester-long, quasi-experimental study with 119 students enrolled in seven sections of an Introduction to Engineering course at Boise State University was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of using a service learning (SL) method on improving student learning, compared to the effectiveness of using a conventional, non-service-learning (NSL) method. The experimental SL group consisted of two of the seven sections of the course, and the NSL group as a comparison group consisted of the other five sections of the course. Although both SL and NSL groups of students participated in collaborative project-based learning environments to complete given assignments, the types of collaborative learning differed in several ways: 1) The SL students completed one comprehensive project for 7 ½ weeks, whereas the NSL students completed a series of small scale problem-solving projects, 2) The SL students worked with the same members of a team throughout the project, whereas the NSL students worked with different team members for each project (teams of four members worked on the SL project, and teams of three members completed the NSL projects), and 3) Each SL team worked with a client from the community to solve a real problem (i.e., real-world learning experience), whereas NSL teams solved a series of projects based on written directions without input and guidance from real clients (i.e., a lack of real-world learning experience). Results showed that the SL method was significantly more effective than the NSL method in terms of 1) positively influencing students’ motivational attitudes toward collaborative project-based learning and 2) improving their self- assessment of engineering abilities measured against ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission program outcomes.
What Is Service Learning?
Service learning (SL) is a type of experiential learning method in which students work collaboratively with others, often in a team, applying their knowledge and skills to solve problems in the community. There are numerous potential benefits of using SL in engineering education. SL helps students understand the societal context of engineering by working with clients from the community and solving their problems. SL often uses problem-based approaches to learning, which emphasizes the importance of practical experience in learning and is organized around the investigation of the problem and development of meaningful solutions to the problem.1
Engineers are essentially problem solvers; they apply knowledge of math and science to solve the problems for clients or to improve our daily lives. In a traditional educational setting, students are taught foundational analytical skills and scientific concepts through textbooks, lectures and practice with textbook-based theoretical problem solving. By incorporating SL into the classroom, students have an opportunity to apply their knowledge to solve an open-ended,
Sevier, C., & Chyung, S. Y., & Schrader, C., & Callahan, J. (2010, June), Effects Of Service Learning Implemented In An Introductory Engineering Course On Student Attitudes And Abilities In The Context Of Abet Outcomes Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15832
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