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Life Long Learning Starts In Classrooms

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Student Learning Techniques & Practices in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.854.1 - 13.854.10



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Paper Authors


Wei Zhan Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Wei Zhan is an Assistant Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Zhan earned his D.Sc. in Systems Science from Washington University in 1991. From 1991 to 1995 he worked at University of California, San Diego and Wayne State University. From 1995 to 2006, he worked in the automotive industry as a system engineer. In 2006 he joined the Electronics Engineering Technology faculty at Texas A&M. His research activities include control system theory and applications to industry, system engineering, robust design, modeling, simulation, quality control, and optimization.

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Ryan Beasley Texas A&M University

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Ryan Beasley is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2006 as a result of his work on the control of surgical robots. His research activities involve designing surgical robots, developing virtual reality tools to enhance image-guided surgery, investigating haptic interfaces, and devising control algorithms for all the above.

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Ana Elisa Goulart Texas A&M University

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Dr. Ana Goulart is an assistant professor in the Telecommunications Engineering Technology program in the department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M. She has received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2005. In addition, she has worked for over 6 years as a hardware designer and communications analyst at IBM and Compaq Computer respectively. Her research has been on communication networks and protocols, including wireless networks and Internet telephony.

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

Life-long Learning Starts In Classrooms

Abstract This paper presents the result of our experiment in a sophomore Circuit Analysis course using the learning-through-teaching method. The main goals of students teaching students are to have the student learn the material effectively and to promote life-long learning by cultivating self-learning. Details of how to make it a successful learning and teaching experience for the students are discussed. Topics discussed include: Why is self leaning important? How is a student teaching assignment organized? How are students motivated? How is the effectiveness of learning-through-teaching assessed? What are the common mistakes? Hopefully, the experience from the learning-through-teaching presented in this paper can provide useful information for others who are interested in this kind of cooperative learning practice.

1. Introduction Life-long learning is the self-directed development and increase in knowledge performed outside of school. This growth is generally viewed by industry and accreditation agencies (e.g., ABET) as important because it prevents skill obsolescence and encourages students and alumni to be more active and capable learners. The lack of a widely recognized method for college professors to encourage life-long learning makes such encouragement a widespread challenge. Without the development of an effective approach one can expect the current status quo of very limited learning outside of classes. This paper describes an experiment in promoting life-long learning by having the students teach portions of the material covered in class. The approach is explained and critiqued with the aim of promoting the further development of instruction in life-long learning.

The recent rapid development of technology makes life-long learning more important than ever; what is taught in the classroom today may be outdated in a few years. In today’s world, life-long learning is essential to be competent in a technological field. Some may think that life-long learning is mostly through on-job technical training but technical training is typically limited to 20-40 hours per year, insufficient to sustain competency. In fact, life-long learning can take many different forms other than on-the- job training, such as self-learning. Self-learning can be done everyday or whenever it is needed and can therefore keep up with the latest development in the technology world. To some extent, cultivating the self-learning ability is more important than the learning of the knowledge itself in higher education.

Self-learning is a more advanced form of learning. Typically, in elementary schools students accept everything the teacher tells them without asking why. In high school, the students are required to use more logical reasoning in addition to learning the knowledge. In college, undergraduate students are encouraged to do more independent study. In graduate school, the students are required to do more independent research work. However, many undergraduate students are still used to the learning style they use in high school and elementary school. They assume it is the teacher’s responsibility to teach them everything they need to learn. These students like the traditional teaching method of

Zhan, W., & Beasley, R., & Goulart, A. E. (2008, June), Life Long Learning Starts In Classrooms Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3218

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: © 2008 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