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Efficacy of Replacing the Lecture with a Skill in Engineering Science Courses

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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

New Teaching Pedagogies: Methods and Assessments

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.588.1 - 26.588.12



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Paper Authors


Libby Osgood P.E. UPEI & Dalhousie University

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Libby Osgood is an Assistant Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada, where she teaches dynamics and design courses. Concurrently, she is pursuing her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her research interests include active learning pedagogy, service learning, and social justice.

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Clifton R. Johnston Dalhousie University

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Efficacy of Replacing the Lecture in an Engineering Science CourseIn order to increase student engagement in an engineering course, active learning techniquessuch as the inverted classroom, problem (or project) based learning, think-pair-share, and sixty-second essays are often employed. However, traditional engineering science courses continue torely on lecture as the main form of knowledge transmission. In an inverted classroom, lecturesoccur outside of the class, leaving class time to answer questions and work on problems, butlectures are a necessary component. Problem based learning is employed to better understand asingle topic, but this technique is time consuming and typically reserved for one lesson within acourse. Shorter active learning techniques such as think-pair-share and sixty second essays allowstudents to understand or respond to a particular topic within a lecture, but do not replace alecture. While most active learning techniques rely on a lecture, this paper will explore whetherthe learning outcomes were met when one technique was employed that did not require a lecture.The lecture-free hands-on learning approach was delivered at University XYZ and ZYX in twoengineering science courses in the 2013-2014 academic year. The study had two goals: quantifywhether the method of delivery impacts student learning, both perceived and measured, and todevelop a successful implementation of experiential learning for two topics withing engineeringscience courses. Fifty first-year students and thirty second-year engineering students learned twotopics in their respective courses. The first topic was taught using the traditional didactic lectureto deliver content followed by a tutorial where students worked in groups to solve a difficultproblem. Students learned the second topic by manipulating objects and solving small problemsin study guides, then attempting a more difficult problem. The learning was quantitativelyassessed through concept quizzes delivered immediately after each tutorial, homework problems,and exam questions. A mixed methods satisfaction survey was delivered at the end of the courseto determine which method students preferred and which they deemed to be more a moreeffective way to learn.The data is currently under review, with results expected in November 2014. From a cursoryreview of the data, students were more comfortable with the traditional lecture, but felt theylearned the material equally for both methods. While an experiential technique was developedfor two topics in each of the engineering science courses, the data must validate the efficacy ofthe technique before the second goal is achieved. If the experiential technique is validated andstudent learning matches or exceeds the amount learned through a lecture, the technique can beemployed in additional engineering science courses, thereby increasing engagement andenhancing student learning.

Osgood, L., & Johnston, C. R. (2015, June), Efficacy of Replacing the Lecture with a Skill in Engineering Science Courses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23926

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