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Phlips For Active Learning

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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

Approaches to Active Learning

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.979.1 - 13.979.10



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Paper Authors


Julie Linsey Texas A&M University

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JULIE LINSEY is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. Her research focus is on design methods, theory and engineering education with a particular focus on innovation and conceptual design.

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Austin Talley University of Texas at Austin

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AUSTIN TALLEY is a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The
University of Texas at Austin. His research focus is in design methodology and engineering
education. He received his B.S. from Texas A&M University. He previously worked for National
Instruments Corporation. Contact

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Kristin Wood University of Texas at Austin

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KRISTIN WOOD is the Cullen Trust Endowed Professor in Engineering at The University of
Texas at Austin, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Wood’s current research interests
focus on product design, development, and evolution. The current and near-future objective of
this research is to develop design strategies, representations, and languages that will result in
more comprehensive design tools, innovative manufacturing techniques, and design teaching aids
at the college, pre-college, and industrial levels. Contact:

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Daniel Jensen U.S. Air Force Academy

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DAN JENSEN is a Professor of Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He
received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has worked for
Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, NASA, University of the Pacific, Lawrence Berkeley
National Lab and MacNeal-Schwendler Corp. His research includes development of innovative
design methodologies and enhancement of engineering education.

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Kathy Schmidt University of Texas at Austin

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KATHY J. SCHMIDT is the Director of the Faculty Innovation Center for the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. In this position, she promotes the College of Engineering's commitment to finding ways to enrich teaching and learning. She works in all
aspects of education including design and development, faculty training, learner support, and evaluation. Contact

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

PHLIpS for Active Learning

Abstract The PHLIpS (Producing Hands-on Learning to InsPire Students) Method provides a systematic approach for professors desiring to develop active learning activities for their classrooms. Many professors appreciate the benefits of active learning and wish to include more activities in their classroom. Unfortunately, activities for a given topic or course are commonly not available as an off-the-self, ready-to-use product. The PHLIpS’s purpose is to be a quick and effective method for professors to streamline the development process for creating active learning activities for their classrooms. This paper briefly presents the method and then details a controlled experimental evaluation of the PHLIpS Method and supporting tools such as the flip book which contains short guidelines of each step. A between-participants experiment was used to measure the method’s effects. Participants were students in a graduate engineering class. Many planned to teach after graduation and most had experience as teaching assistants. Outcome measures included a post-session opinion survey and measures related to the concepts generated. The PHLIpS Method was found to be effective and was well received by the participants.

1. Introduction Active learning approaches improve students’ overall understanding1. There is considerable literature that addresses the advantages of using hands-on experiences in engineering and STEM curricula2-17. Although the importance of active learning activities is well recognized, few ready- to-use activities are currently available for a given subject or topic. In addition, little formal guidance as a systematic approach for their development exists18. The paper first presents the PHLIpS Method (Producing Hands-on Learning to InsPire Students)19 for the creation of active learning products (ALPs). The paper next focuses on validating and evaluating the PHLIpS Method with a controlled experiment. Results from the experiment are shown and discussed. Finally conclusions are made and future work is discussed.

2. Overview of the PHLIpS Method The PHLIpS Method19 is a tool to guide professors in the efficient creation of ALPs. Figure 1 shows a summary of the method used to guide the development of ALPs. A set of cards which serve as a quick reference for each ALP is shown in Figure 2. ALPs are based on enhancing learning through the use of hands-on and student-driven active learning experiences. The method begins with understanding the educational goals, generating ideas, systematic selection of ideas, and finally implementation and evaluation of the newly-created ALPs (Figure 1). This methodology also seeks to relate all types of student personality types and learning styles to active learning. This is done as part of the “evaluation” step. ALPs are categorized into themes, such as hands-on exercises, thought experiments, forensic investigations, physical measurements, multimedia exercises and design applications. Currently, over twenty-five ALPs for mechanics of materials have been created across these themes. The PHLIpS Method can also be used for design of ALPs for other technical topics. See Linsey, et al.,19 for a more detailed explanation of the method.

A complete set of ALP materials including student worksheets, detailed professor notes and supporting material, are available at the Active Learning for Mechanics of Materials website (

Linsey, J., & Talley, A., & Wood, K., & Jensen, D., & Schmidt, K. (2008, June), Phlips For Active Learning Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3979

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