June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.697.1 - 26.697.11
Evidence of Learning Gains in Statics as a Result of Simulation-Based Instruction Through a project sponsored by the NSF TUES program, we have developed amethodology to incorporate the use of simulation in courses in Statics and Mechanics ofMaterials. The use of simulation is coupled with an introduction to design, including exposure toexcerpts from professional design codes such as ASCE, AISC, ans AASHTO. The use ofsimulation also engages students in thought processes that aim to increase their conceptual andprocedural knowledge of fundamentals such as Free Body Diagrams, sign conventions, solvingequilibrium equations, and verifying reasonableness of a final answer. This paper focuses on results of learning gains from students in Statics. To test thedegree to which this type of education advances student knowledge – both conceptually andprocedurally – a think-aloud interview (see description below1) instrument was designed andadministered to control and experimental cohorts. The think-aloud interview consists of two setsof questions. Set 1 focuses on the analysis of a beam supported by a hinge and a cable, with anexternal load applied. Set 2 focuses on the analysis of a truss with simple supports and givenexternal loads. Within each set, the questions progress in order to reflect ususal problem-solvingstrategies and also in level of abstraction and complexity. After each question, beforeproceeding to the next question, participants are shown a standard accepted answer. This process(1) enables participants to proceed to the next question even if they made a crucial error thatwould otherwise have impeded their progress, and (2) provides an opportunity for participants tooffer a reflection on how their answers compare to the accepted answer. The instrument has so far been delivered to six students from the experimental cohort(i.e., those who received instruction with the simulation-based instruction in Statics), and threefrom the control cohort (i.e., those who received standard instruction in Statics). Thesepreliminary results show gains in student ability to solve problems procedurally and of highercomplexity as a result of simulation-based instruction. However, the results do not yet indicatesimilar gains in conceptual understanding. Nevertheless, on the basis of this preliminary work, ahypothesis has been developed that proposes how experience with simulation can increase astudents’s ability to solve problems of higher complexity, thus accelerating their progress fromnovice to expert. This work is currently in progress and it is anticipated that by the time of thefinal paper, the instrument will have been delivered to 15 student from both the experimental andcontrol groups.1 A think-aloud instrument is a guided set of questions that is answered by a respondent in the presence of a skilledinterviewer. The respondent is asked to continuously explain his/her reasoning to the interviewer. The intervieweris equipped with prompting questions and comments to elicit explanations form the interviewee without biasing theoutcome of the answer. The interviews are typically video recorded and then transcribed into written text format forfurther analysis.
Papadopoulos, C., & Santiago-Román, A. I., & Portela-Gauthier, G., & Oquendo, E. F., & Candelario Suarez, D., & Hernandez-Negron, C. G., & Perez-Vargas, M. J. (2015, June), Evidence of Learning Gains in Statics as a Result of Simulation-based Instruction Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24034
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