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Facilitating The Design Of Diagnostic Learning Modules With Cape

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

BME Curriculum Development

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.630.1 - 11.630.9



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Paper Authors


Larry Howard Vanderbilt University

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Larry P. Howard is a Senior Research Scientist with the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University. He is the developer of the Courseware Authoring and Packaging Environment (CAPE) and the VaNTH experimental Learning Management System (eLMS).

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Robert Roselli Purdue University

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Robert J. Roselli is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. He has served as Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Education Director for the VaNTH Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Learning Technologies, VaNTH Domain Leader in Biotransport, and is an active contributor to the VaNTH Biomechanics Domain. Dr. Roselli has developed graduate and undergraduate courses in biomechanics and biotransport at Vanderbilt University. He received B.S. (1969) and M.S. (1972) degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. (1975) in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

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

Facilitating the Design of Diagnostic Learning Modules with CAPE

Abstract Diagnostic learning modules adapt themselves in response to common difficulties experienced by students attempting problem-solving tasks. The nature of these adaptations concerns providing focused remediation and adjusting the flow of follow-on activities. An authoring environment that supports the design of such modules also provides facilities for capturing recurring structural and procedural idioms as instructional design patterns, with the aim of reducing the number of unique decisions to be addressed when creating similar modules. We report an application of this strategy that involves creating a general design pattern for numerical problem-solving tasks. New modules can be derived from this pattern by specifying details of an instance as data structures, thereby limiting what needs to be known about the design environment and its representation by novice designers. Our motivation is to expand the creation and use by faculty of these scaffolding designs by reducing the effort required to effectively employ the supporting technologies.

Introduction The Vanderbilt-Northwestern-Texas-Harvard-MIT Engineering Research Center for Bioengineering Educational Technologies (VaNTH ERC) has developed a learning technology infrastructure1 that enables educators to create innovative online assignments which provide students with real time formative feedback as they attempt to solve quantitative engineering problems2. This infrastructure consists of a visual language-based authoring technology called CAPE (Courseware Authoring and Packaging Environment) and a web-based delivery platform called eLMS (experimental Learning Management System). Based on principles provided by the "How People Learn" framework, CAPE-designed modules have proven to be effective in improving learning in multiple areas including biotechnology, biomechanics and systems physiology2,3,4,5. The interactive system has found favor with instructors, teaching assistants and students. Students are allowed to attempt problems multiple times without being heavily penalized for making common mistakes, which can be diagnosed by the modules. Adaptive feedback provided by the modules helps students see what they may have forgotten to include in their solution. Students also like the automatic grading provided by such modules. Since each step taken by the student in the problem solution is instrumented by the eLMS delivery platform, students and instructors can easily review the module to support reflection. This approach also frees teaching assistants from the necessity of grading homework, most of which is worked correctly, and allows them to spend time with the students who most need their help. Many educators recognize the value of such modules, but designing, constructing and debugging diagnostic learning modules using CAPE can be very time consuming. Educators will readily use modules designed by someone else, but claim to be too strapped for time to design their own diagnostic modules. The design environment that arises from this infrastructure provides a rich set of features and capabilities, but until recently, offered little in the way of scaffolds for designers. One way to attract new or less-experienced designers is to increase their efficiency by offering more structure in the design task. Integrative design environments can promote

Howard, L., & Roselli, R. (2006, June), Facilitating The Design Of Diagnostic Learning Modules With Cape Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--701

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