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Improving the Understanding of BIM Concepts Through a Flipped Learning Lab Environment: A Work in Progress

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

BIM in Architectural Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.932.1 - 26.932.16



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Paper Authors


Christopher Monson University of Washington

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Christopher Monson, RA, is a doctoral student in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Architecture with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Across a twenty-year academic career, he has taught design and construction studios, building detailing and assemblages, and architectural theory, and has been recognized institutionally and nationally for teaching. His research is focused on integrated AEC practice, studio-based learning, and design thinking. He is a licensed architect and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional.

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Hoda - Homayouni University of Washington

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Hoda Homayouni is a senior Ph.D. student in the Built Environment program, University of Washington (UW). She is also a teaching associate in the Construction management department, at UW.

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Carrie S Dossick University of Washington Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Dossick’s main research interests focus on emerging collaboration methods and technologies such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM). Current projects include (1) technology and collaboration strategies for green building design and construction, (2) global virtual teams, (3) applications of BIM and COBie in operations and (4) bringing BIM to the construction site via mobile. She has received funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Education, Mechanical Contractors Association of Western Washington, University of Washington Royalty Research Fund, University of Washington Capital Projects, the College of Built Environments’ BE Lab and was awarded the College of Architecture and Urban Planning 2007 Dean’s Development Fund.

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Anne K Anderson Washington State University

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Anne Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Design + Construction at Washington State University. Her research focuses on improving construction coordination efforts through the use of building information modeling (BIM) and emerging collaboration technologies.

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Improving the understanding of BIM concepts through a blended learning environmentWork in Progress. Given the data showing how students learn better when given opportunities toengage concepts through real-world and practical skill application, architectural engineering,construction engineering, and construction management (CM) coursework design has shifted tomore student-centered pedagogies like problem-based, experiential, and blended learning. This isespecially evident in the emerging coursework areas of virtual design and construction (VDC)and building information modeling (BIM), where the normative lecture format may be ofquestionable effectiveness when students aren’t able to gain direct experience with computersoftware. But given the time constraints of the traditional three-credit course, it is very difficultto cover digital construction concepts and software skills such that learning outcomes areadequately realized for both. However, when concepts can be introduced and then reiteratedthrough hands-on engagement of software skill-building used in solving specific constructionproblems—called “vignettes”—there may be an opportunity to bridge the gap between thelearning outcomes of digital concepts and an introduction to software skills, doing both in a moretime-efficient manner.This paper explores the use of online software vignettes in an upper-level CM course thatintroduces concepts and tools for VDC and BIM. The course is designed using a blendedlearning rotation model where students move through different learning environments duringeach class period: small-group discussions, online reading and assignments, and whole-classlectures and discussions. Rotations also include the online vignettes, where the introduction tosoftware skills for SketchUp, Revit, Navisworks, and BIM 360 Glue is built around theapplication of key digital concepts. These concepts include fundamental terms like “groups,”“parametric,” and “federated model” as they are used in major industry software packages andapplied in construction practice. The paper describes the design of the online vignettes and anongoing Work-in-Progress study of their effectiveness in improving learning outcomes foressential digital concepts. The study is using a pre-/post- design with anonymous online surveysassessing student’s abilities to correctly define key concepts or apply them in new contextsbefore working on the software vignettes and immediately after. The surveys also ask forstudents to measure their confidence in their answers. The study population is 20 upper-levelundergraduate and graduate students in construction management at a large public university.The paper’s initial findings suggest that the use of rotational vignettes allows students to improvethe understanding of BIM and construction software concepts and their transfer to differentcontexts. This outcome parallels existing educational literature showing that the incorporation ofproblem solving, skill engagement, and other student-centered learning methodologies intraditional lecture-based coursework increases student content understanding and improves theirability to transfer that knowledge to new problems. The example provided by the vignettedesigns and the evidence of its pedagogic effectiveness offers architectural engineering,construction engineering, and construction management educators new methods by whichsoftware skills might be incorporated into introductory VDC and BIM coursework.

Monson, C., & Homayouni, H., & Dossick, C. S., & Anderson, A. K. (2015, June), Improving the Understanding of BIM Concepts Through a Flipped Learning Lab Environment: A Work in Progress Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24269

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