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Exploring the Development of Undergraduate Research Experience

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Student Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.584.1 - 24.584.7



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Paper Authors

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Kelly Patsavas


Barrett S. Caldwell Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Prof. Caldwell is a researcher in the area of human factors engineering, with a specialty in cognitive ergonomics. He was named in 2008 as a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES, the leading scientific body in this area in the US and one of the premier ergonomics societies in the world). Prof. Caldwell was also asked to co-organize the 2008 session on Cognitive Ergonomics for the National Academy of Engineering US Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) conference. (He was also a participant in the 2003 US FOE, and the 2006 German-American FOE, conferences.) He currently serves on the Executive Council of the HFES as its Secretary-Treasurer

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Exploring the Development of Undergraduate Research ExperienceThis paper describes a multi-year experiential reflection process examining the development ofresearch awareness and integration for an undergraduate industrial engineering student. As asophomore, the student author approached the faculty member in order to gain experience in aninterdisciplinary human factors and systems engineering context. Because the explicit researchemphasis of the faculty member’s lab is on development and sharing of expertise, information,and knowledge, the student’s learning of the research process represented an interesting contextfor focusing the student’s experience. Thus, one aspect of the student’s learning focused on tacitknowledge management and event-based knowledge development in the form of a studentprogressing through the undergraduate level of school while participating in a research lab. Thereare multiple multi-scale dynamic models that must be evaluated in order to create an effectiveprocess simulation of student learning from an expertise development context. Differentperspectives, including the student as the system; the student as a product who is input to, andthen transformed by, the “research lab-as-system” ; or the student as a functioning component ofthe research lab system. In each model, experience versus expertise is evaluated throughreflective case studies at multiple points along a learning curve. This allows a comparison ofexplicit, implicit, and tacit learning and to analyze at what point the student begins to thinkbeyond the textbook with less of a process based mindset and more of an event based mindset. Alearning-curve simulation of the student could be used to evaluate the rate at which the studentbecomes better at tasks. A social dynamics simulation addresses how different situations, suchas human-human interaction or cultural learning, affect the student’s progress and perceivedefficacy of learning and laboratory participation. Looking at tacit knowledge management fromthe viewpoint of a student developing through the research lab process shows helps to elaboratedifferent facets of contextualized learning when trying to develop engineering experience,expertise, and integration.

Patsavas, K., & Caldwell, B. S. (2014, June), Exploring the Development of Undergraduate Research Experience Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20475

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