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Engineering Students' Readiness For Self Directed Learning

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Conference

2004 Annual Conference

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Assessing Teaching & Learning

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

9.558.1 - 9.558.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/13902

Download Count

245

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Paper Authors

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Sang Ha Lee

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John Wise

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Thomas Litzinger

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

Session 3530

Engineering Students’ Readiness for Self-directed Learning

Thomas Litzinger, Sang Ha Lee, and John Wise

Penn State University

Abstract

The study summarized in this paper extends the previous work of the authors that attempted to determine whether capstone engineering courses have an effect on readiness for self-directed learning. The previous study suffered from a poor participation rate and several other potential problems. A new experimental design eliminated these problems. Pre-test and post-test data were collected in two sections of a capstone course in Mechanical Engineering. Results show no statistically significant change in the average pre-test and post-test scores; however, a fraction of the students were found to experience significant increases and decreases. A regression analysis was conducted in an attempt to understand the effect of the characteristics of the students such as gender and grade point average as well as project and section; however, no statistically significant correlation between the change in SDLRS score and any of these factors were found. Interviews with instructors were also conducted and suggested that the decreases in the scores for one project were likely due to the nature of the interactions of the project mentor with the students. Implications of the results of this study for curricular design are discussed.

Introduction

The ABET engineering accreditation criteria bring lifelong learning to the forefront for all engineering educators. In the past, our role in lifelong learning was primarily offering courses and degree programs for practicing engineers through continuing education and on our campuses. Now the accreditation criteria demand that we prepare engineering students to engage in lifelong learning. While this level of emphasis on preparing students for lifelong learning is new, the significance attached to lifelong learning, and in particular continuing education, within the engineering profession is not.

Lifelong learning in engineering has been recognized as critical for decades. The Final Report of the Goals Committee on Engineering Education, written in 1968, contained a discussion of the importance of lifelong learning.1 In 1978, the theme of the ASEE Annual Conference was “Career Management – Lifelong Learning.” Over the years there have been a number of studies to investigate the types of activities involved in lifelong learning, their frequency of use, the types of support systems required for lifelong learning, barriers to lifelong learning, and impact of lifelong learning for individual engineers. Many of these studies are summarized in a 1985 report by an NRC panel.2

Lifelong learning is an issue of importance for engineers around the world. UNESCO sponsored several significant studies including “Advances in the continuing education of engineers.”3 The

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

Lee, S. H., & Wise, J., & Litzinger, T. (2004, June), Engineering Students' Readiness For Self Directed Learning Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/13902

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