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Evaluating the use of a Personalized Learning Management System to Increase Student Enrollment in High School Physics (Evaluation, Diversity)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education in the Formal Classroom

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Meera N.K. Singh University of Calgary

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Meera Singh obtained her PhD. from the University of Waterloo, Canada, specializing in fatigue life prediction methods. Following her PhD studies, she joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manitoba, Canada, where she was a faculty member for 12 years. During that time, she conducted research primarily in the area of the fatigue behaviour of composite materials, regularly taught courses in applied mechanics, and served as the Chair for the Women in Science and Engineering Committee. Meera joined the University of Calgary in 2015.

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Qiao Sun University of Calgary

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Qiao Sun is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Calgary. She is also the Associate Dean (Diversity and Equity, Teaching and Learning) at the Schulich School of Engineering. She obtained her BSc in Power Machinery Engineering and MSc in Mechanical Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 1982 and 1986 respectively, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria in 1996. She has taught engineering courses such as engineering mechanics, numerical analysis, control systems and advanced robotics. Her teaching excellence has been recognized by numerous awards. More recently, she is interested in developing inclusive teaching best practices that will support students with diverse learning styles for improved learning outcomes.

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Consistent with the majority of provinces across Canada, the enrollment in senior level high school physics in Alberta has significantly lagged behind enrollment in commensurate chemistry and biology classes. Furthermore, there is significant gender disparity in high school physics classrooms; the majority of students are male. Since engineering faculties depend on these students for their enrollment, to foster diversity in their own student population, engineering outreach programs are often aimed at providing university led in-class presentations / demonstrations in K-12 classrooms. Although met with some anecdotal success, enrolment issues may be more effectively addressed by engineering academics if their efforts were directed toward providing research support in the evaluation of educational tools that may support school teachers in delivering content themselves in a manner that appeals to their daily instructional needs and to the learning needs of the diverse student population.

An award winning personalized learning management system (PLMS) developed by leading STEM not-for-profit organization is under investigation. This system is a personalized curriculum based hypermedia instructional tool for K-12 educators and students. Being digitally based, it has the potential for rapid integration into classrooms. The tool appeals to digital natives (students), and incorporates: mind mapping (discovery based learning), experts on call, gamification, all integrated through teacher views that produce dynamic project-based lesson plans. The system encourages an interdisciplinary approach that requires students to draw on multiple subject areas simultaneously to solve real world problems. Previous research conducted by the authors has indicated that in the context of learning style models, the PLMS provides a balanced approach to learning and therefore should be a very useful learning tool in the physics curriculum. This study will first present the results of attitudinal and learning style surveys that were conducted in local junior high schools that correlate learning style profiles, gender, and attitudes towards Physics. Informed by these results, specific physics modules designed by the authors have integrated into the PLMS and are used to enhance learning in targeted junior high school classrooms. Pre and post survey data that includes attitudinal markers, learning style profiles, gender, and assessments of knowledge gained, will be analyzed and presented. It is expected that these results will be used to further refine the PLMS. Ultimately, the potential to improve the engagement in physics by a more diverse student group by the adoption of the PLMS in the classroom will be highlighted.

Singh, M. N., & Sun, Q. (2019, June), Evaluating the use of a Personalized Learning Management System to Increase Student Enrollment in High School Physics (Evaluation, Diversity) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32761

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