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Growth In Learning Strategies After Two Years In An Engineering Curriculum May Differ From Expectations

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Tools of Teaching and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.616.1 - 8.616.6



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Paper Authors

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Debra Fowler

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Jefferey Froyd

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Don Maxwell

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

Session 2430

Learning Strategy Growth Not What Expected After Two Years through Engineering Curriculum

Debra Fowler, Don Maxwell, Jeff Froyd

Texas A&M University


As the pace of technological development continues to increase, consensus has emerged that undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula cannot contain all of the topics that engineering professionals will require, even during the first ten years of their careers. Therefore, the need for students to increase their capability for lifelong learning is receiving greater attention. It is anticipated that development of this capability occurs during the undergraduate curricula. However, preliminary data from both first-year and junior engineering majors may indicate that development of these competencies may not be as large as desired. Data was obtained using the Learning and Study Skills Inventory (LASSI), an instrument whose reliability has been demonstrated during the past fifteen years. The LASSI is a ten-scale, eighty-item assessment of students’ awareness about and use of learning and study strategies related to skill, will and self-regulation components of strategic learning. Students at Texas A&M University in both a first-year engineering course and a junior level civil engineering course took the LASSI at the beginning of the academic year. Improvements would normally be expected after two years in a challenging engineering curriculum. However, data on several different scales appears to indicate that improvements are smaller than might be expected.


The Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) requires in Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2000) that engineering programs must demonstrate graduates have “a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.”1 The requirement leads to a need for defining and assessing lifelong learning and is being approached in a variety of ways at the post secondary level.2,3 For the purposes of the present paper, lifelong learning is defined as having the internal drive and skills to continue to understand topic areas at any level of perceived need. The perceived need may be as a result of job performance or may just be a result of seeing a prospective need in the distant future. The internal drive includes a gathering of information until the need is fulfilled whether this is through gathering of materials such as in a library, classroom, or on the internet. Also included are skills to process the information once it is obtained. Assessing the degree to which graduates can engage in lifelong learning may also raise questions about how much the capability for lifelong learning increases during a four-year undergraduate engineering curriculum.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Fowler, D., & Froyd, J., & Maxwell, D. (2003, June), Growth In Learning Strategies After Two Years In An Engineering Curriculum May Differ From Expectations Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12426

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