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Instructional Laboratory Integration With Course Contents: A Learning Hierarchy Approach

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Accreditation and Related Issues in ECE

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.676.1 - 7.676.7



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A R Zaghloul

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Session 2532

Instructional Laboratory Integration with Course Contents: A Learning Hierarchy Approach

A. R. M. Zaghloul Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Engineering, Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Orlean Building, 6001 Chatham Center Dr., Savannah, GA 31405


The positive educational effects of integrating the lab work with the theoretical course contents are incredible. Historically, there was, and still is in some cases, a kind of educational ‘separation’ between lab work and the course contents. It is very easy, and very common, to have students in the lab doing experiments on subjects they did not study or have a good understanding of the concepts they are to consolidate by the lab work. There exist two main models for using lab work in conjunction with regular class work. The most popular, and easier to implement, is first-lecture then-lab (FLEL) model. This way, the lab work consolidates the class work. If this model is used without detailed and close integration, as usually is the case, students are up for too much frustration and miss-conceptual education. This scenario is well known amongst students and is taking place all the time. The second model is the first-lab then-lecture (FLAL) model, which builds on the lab work to develop concepts and theories. This approach, if properly designed and implemented, leads to a very good and effective education. This communication discusses both approaches with more emphasis on the widely adopted, least integrated, FLEL model. A learning hierarchy is employed to design and integrate the lab work with the class work. A step-by-step algorithm is provided to help a wide range of educators with adopting this model with less frustration, less damage to the students’ affective and cognitive domains, and a much better educational experience and outcome for the students. It also makes the educational process more manageable for the instructor.

I. Introduction

There is too much effort and funding these days directed towards innovative changes in education. Web-based education, computer-enhanced education, and distributed- networked classrooms, are just a few very powerful new concepts in education. 1-9

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright c 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Zaghloul, A. R. (2002, June), Instructional Laboratory Integration With Course Contents: A Learning Hierarchy Approach Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10333

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