June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.703.1 - 14.703.10
Improving Construction Management Course Comprehension through Experiential Learning Abstract
While lectures are the most common way to teach students, they are not necessarily the best way to convey some types of information. Consider the famous quote by Confucius: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
This paper discusses a hands-on experiential learning laboratory, which complements the lecture in a Construction Management (CM) materials and methods course. Many CM programs avoid hands-on experiences due to the vocational/technical stigma. However, experiential learning transforms construction concepts that are often abstract and out of context for many students in an exclusively lecture course into tangible objects and processes. The hands-on laboratory reinforces and supplements material covered in lecture and improves course comprehension by allowing students to learn through discovery. The laboratory aspect of the course also improves leadership, promotes teamwork, and increases student confidence.
This paper discusses specific laboratory experiences used and their educational value, student feedback regarding the experiential labs, and lessons learned for CM programs interested in adding or expanding their hands-on learning experiences for students. The paper also provides a comparison of test and course grades from students enrolled in a lecture-only version of the course versus students enrolled in a combined lecture and laboratory version of the course.
Construction education programs are charged with providing an education that will foster a student’s ability to successfully undertake a leadership role in the management of the construction process. To manage the complex construction process requires substantial knowledge of modern management theory and practices, the ability to lead a diverse group of skilled and non-skilled personnel in daily operations, and expertise in the construction processes for which he or she is responsible 1. Traditional transmission type teaching methodologies, requiring the teacher to “stand and deliver” information in a systematic process 2 are conducive for teaching management theory and practice. However, the effective transfer of practical leadership skills and knowledge of construction specific processes is more difficult to achieve.
When developing learning applications, it is important not to confuse education with learning 3. Education emphasizes the educator and mainly deals with teaching methods, actions, and/or processes. The concern of education is specific learning outcomes and the process of teaching students the information needed to achieve those outcomes 4. Learning is a focus upon the person to whom the change occurs. Learning is a process of gaining knowledge and/or skills through formal or informal means 5 and is the result of the exchange of information from educator to learner. It can be in the form of intentional transfer of information from educator to learner, as well as incidental or unplanned learning 4. Kimble 6 contends that learning is a relatively permanent change in observable behavior that occurs as a result of reinforced practice. Individuals involved in the learning process are capable of performing afterwards in a way that
Davis, K., & Cline, R. C. (2009, June), Improving Construction Management Course Comprehension Through Experiential Learning Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5405
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