June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Abstract: Traditionally, at undergraduate level courses, experiential learning is performed through prescriptive laboratory experiments. Usually, there will be a laboratory manual having twelve to fifteen experiments written either by textbook author or by others. The laboratory manual will typically have the following format: Experiment Title, Objectives, Step by Step Procedure, Tables for writing collected data, Graph paper for plotting collected data, and Related Questions to answer by student in the final report. The process has been working for students for centuries not always without hiccups. Those hiccups mostly generated from different laboratory equipment, type’s parts used, different types software tools and their versions, and a few other unforeseen laboratory issues.
To improve creativity and critical thinking of students, authors of this paper have created a little variation to the above process. Instead of providing students with all they need, they are only provided with an experiment/assignment title and the objectives of the experimentation. Students are also provided help with available software and hardware tools that they need to perform any specific assignment. These helps do not include any step by step procedure, what data to collect, or even how to present them in the report. This process emulates a real world environment that a graduate would encounter in industry.
This paper will show and discuss how such laboratory process has provided several benefits for students, how students have come up with innovative solutions and approaches to the same problem, and how those solutions have been quite different from the authors own solution of the assignment. In addition, students with innovative solution were asked to present their solution to other students in the laboratory. The paper discusses how this later effort created a competitive environment that facilitates enhanced learning without pressure.
The paper also discusses how to improve student experiential learning by innovating solutions to problems such as limitation caused by number of hardware stations and variation in speed and skills of students while performing experiments. Finally, data is presented that proves the benefits of open ended and non-prescriptive assignments over the traditional approach.
Hossain, A., & Zahraee, M. A. (2019, June), Experiential Learning of Students through Prescriptive Laboratory Experiments Versus Open-ended Laboratory Assignments Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32794
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