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Facilitating Group Work: To Enhance Learning in Laboratory Based Courses of Engineering Education in India

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Improving the Pedagogy of Laboratory Courses

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.627.1 - 25.627.10

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Paper Authors


Sujatha J. Mission10X, Wipro Technologies

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Sujatha J. is academically qualified with a Ph.D. in signal processing, from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, and has more than 24 years of academic and industry experience. Over the years, Sujatha has participated in not only academic teaching and research but also in academic counseling for students, professional development programs, curriculum development, industry-institution relationship activities, and prototype development and team building. Currently, Sujatha is a core member of Research Center, Mission10X, Wipro Technologies, India, and takes active role in conducting workshops, designing course contents as well as various other Mission10X projects in addition to several research activities in various aspects of engineering education. As a technical faculty of Mission10X, she is a certified master trainer for the various training modules of Mission10X for engineering college faculty in INDIA. In addition, she is qualified with the “Cambridge International Certificate for Teachers and Trainers (CICTT)," Cambridge University, U.K.

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Rajshri Jobanputra

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Rajshri Jobanputra brings with her more than 15 years of experience of teaching, training, and research. Academically qualified with a Ph.D. in philosophy, from Indian Institute of Technology. Bombay, Mumbai, India, Jobanputra has been actively involved in academics through various roles of visiting faculty, trainer, and counselor across esteemed institutions of India like IIT Roorkee, IIM Ahamadabad, IITM Chennai
And Mission10X, and Wipro Technologies.
This paper has evolved as a result of a study conducted. At the time, Jobanputra was working as a consultant to Mission10X, Wipro Technologies, India.

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Facilitating Group-Work: To Enhance Learning in Laboratory Based Courses of Engineering Education in IndiaQuality of engineering education, which is essential for the economic growth of the nation, hasemerged as a factor of paramount importance in India, today. This has led to several discussionson reforms in teaching-learning processes in engineering classrooms.In particular, laboratory courses form an integral part of the degree programs in engineering.Concepts taught through lectures are often complemented by laboratory experiments which arecritical to enable learners to further develop their knowledge and skills. However, in practice,there have been questions raised about the significance and effectiveness of the same. A simpleroot cause analysis of the prevailing apathetic attitude towards laboratory sessions can be tracedto the lack of clarity of learning objectives and the use of traditional pedagogy of laboratoryinstructions.In this context, the present study attempts to enhance the learning in laboratory courses throughappropriate design and facilitation of the popularly used pedagogy of ‘group work’. Group-workas a pedagogy is one of the most common while conducting a laboratory session in engineeringcurriculum. Though common, often it is seen being used with little planning and often withoutassessing its suitability to the set learning objectives. This paper will thus try to argue andsupport its central claim that while the use of “Group-Work” does entail several positive learningoutcomes through collaborative and cooperative learning, it has to be facilitated appropriately toearn higher dividends as an active-learning technique. With this as our basic aim, an attempt ismade to understand the typical manner in which ‘group work’ is carried out during laboratorysessions. Based on the observations so gathered effort will be directed in identifying andanalyzing some of the key rudiments of facilitation that could induce and enhance activelearning, specifically as applicable to the laboratory sessions of the engineering courses in India.With some of the key facilitation skills thus listed, the paper seeks to warrant the claim that whilefacilitating groups if sufficient attention is paid to some critical and vital aspects of group work,facilitators will not only positively impact a learner’s attitude towards laboratory session but alsocontribute significantly towards making the use of Group-work effective.The present work stems from an in-depth qualitative analysis of observations, interactions andcase-study experiences recorded during the various faculty empowerment workshopengagements, of which the authors have been the main facilitators. With insights drawn thereof,it is anticipated that faculty members will be able to strengthen the effectiveness of laboratorycourses in engineering education so as to take their learners to higher levels of learning as well asdevelop the requisite skills for the engineering profession.

J., S., & Jobanputra, R. (2012, June), Facilitating Group Work: To Enhance Learning in Laboratory Based Courses of Engineering Education in India Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas.

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