Asee peer logo

Improving the Impact of Experiential Learning Activities through the Assessment of Student Learning Styles

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Active Learning and Undergraduate Research in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael Johnson Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Michael D. Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on design tools; specifically, the cost modeling and analysis of product development and manufacturing systems; computer-aided design methodology; and engineering education.

visit author page

author page

Mirim Kim Texas A&M University


Jyhwen Wang Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Jyhwen Wang joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University after working for 10 years as a researcher and R&D manager in industry. He teaches mechanics of materials, mechanical design applications and manufacturing processes. His research interest is in design and analysis of material processing technologies. He received his Ph. D. degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University.

visit author page

author page

Myeongsun Yoon Texas A&M University

Download Paper |


Long a staple of engineering technology, experiential learning is becoming a topic of growing interest among the wider engineering educational community. Experiential learning theory imports practical experiences into the learning environment. While the putative benefits of experiential learning have been highlighted, the activities introduced into the learning environment are rarely systematically designed around the content of the course or the needs of the student population. There has been little work with respect to the effects of these activities on students and their learning. Given the growing interest in experiential learning and the significant costs associated with these activities as opposed to the traditional lecture model, a more robust analysis is needed.

This work examines the effects of experiential learning activities on student learning for different types of courses; namely, what effects the abstract or concrete nature of the topic being taught has on the impact of the experiential learning activities. A solid mechanics course is used to highlight an abstract topic, while a manufacturing course is used to evaluate a more concrete topic. Students’ learning styles are also important to take into account when examining the effect of experiential learning activities. The Kolb Learning Style Inventory (KLSI) and the Felder and Soloman's Index of Learning Styles (ILS) are used to evaluate student learning styles.The final variable examined in this work is the timing of the experiential learning activities. Across a course type and student learning style, the timing of a practical activity either prior to or after a lecture might be an important factor for an efficient learning cycle. This work examines the type of course, a student’s learning style, the effect of experiential activities, and the timing of those activities.

The sample of engineering technology students examined for this work is somewhat balanced in aggregate according to the KLSI. The ET group assessed has a higher percentage of active, sensing, visual, and sequential learners than previously reported engineering populations when assessed using the ILS. The effect of experiential learning activity timing is not shown to be a significant factor in student confidence, visualization ability, or competence. Students with moderate or strong preferences along the dimensions of the ILS are not shown to elicit higher confidence, visualization ability, or competence in the two courses. Limitations are detailed and opportunities for future work are highlighted.

Johnson, M., & Kim, M., & Wang, J., & Yoon, M. (2016, June), Improving the Impact of Experiential Learning Activities through the Assessment of Student Learning Styles Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25636

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015