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Experiential Learning In Vehicle Dynamics Education Via Motion Simulation

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.592.1 - 13.592.19



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Paper Authors

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Edward Kasprzak Milliken Research Associates

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Kevin Hulme University at Buffalo - SUNY

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Deborah Moore-Russo Suny - Buffalo

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Kenneth English University at Buffalo - SUNY

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Kemper Lewis University at Buffalo - SUNY

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

Experiential Learning in Vehicle Dynamics Education via Motion Simulation


Many leaders in engineering education have advocated the use of active, student-centered instruction in engineering courses. Engineering educators have also been challenged to incorporate more authentic learning situations using inquiry, project-based instruction, and increase opportunities for student collaboration and communication. This paper describes the innovative use of a motion simulation-based framework to provide active student participation in authentic engineering experiences for learning about dynamic systems. The project’s theoretical underpinnings are based on situated learning where new educational material is presented in an authentic context, and social interaction and collaboration are required for learning to occur. Through a learner-centered approach, students use physical simulation and large-scale visualization to discover the impact that design decisions have on a dynamic system, while gaining hands-on experience in configuring and operating vehicle simulation hardware and software. The application of the framework is demonstrated by the development of an adaptable learning experience model for an introductory vehicle dynamics course. This paper reports on work done under National Science Foundation Grant DUE-0633596 in the Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program.

Introduction and Motivation: Macro-Level

Relating theoretical and analytical results to real-world phenomena is one of the most difficult tasks in engineering education. While equations and graphs are the language of engineering, such language is necessarily an abstraction of reality. Part of a student’s education is learning how to work in a world of equations and graphs while applying the results to real-world products and systems. Many attempts to cross this gap are used by educators, including in-class demonstrations, laboratory experiments, videos and computer graphic simulations1-4, in response to the President’s Information Technology Advisory Council (PITAC) recommendation5 for the development of technologies for education and training that use simulation, visualization, and gaming to actively engage students in the learning experience. In the same report, PITAC also recommended the development of educational experiences that provide learners with access to world-class facilities and experiences using either actual or simulated devices. The national science standards also challenge science educators to rethink the teaching of science6-7.

As science can be taught as a process8, so can engineering. However, Felder, Woods, Stice, and Rugarcia9 claim that engineering classrooms typically have an instructor at the front of the room, imparting information, while students take notes. This type of instruction does not capitalize on the challenge and creativity that should be inherent in the study of any subject, especially one like engineering, nor does this traditional instruction align with Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) requirements for teaching communication and teamwork10. Williams11 states that engineering education has “been scrutinized and found inadequate to prepare its students for technical work in the twenty-first century” (p. 149) and claims that ABET's new accreditation requirements including integrated communication and interpersonal

Kasprzak, E., & Hulme, K., & Moore-Russo, D., & English, K., & Lewis, K. (2008, June), Experiential Learning In Vehicle Dynamics Education Via Motion Simulation Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3689

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