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Same Course, Two Methods Of Learning : Assessment Of The Students Success

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Useful Assessment in Materials Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1095.1 - 10.1095.16



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Paper Authors

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Pierre G. Lafleur

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Jean-Paul Bailon

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Bernard Clément

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

Same Course, Two Methods of Learning: Assessment of the Student’s Success

Jean-Paul Baïlon(1) (Dept. of Mechanical Eng.), Bernard Clément (Dept. of Applied Mathematics and Industrial Eng.), Pierre G. Lafleur (Dean of Studies) Ecole Polytechnique, PO Box 6079, Station Centre-Ville Montréal (QC) Canada H3C 3A7

Abstract: This paper discusses the implementation of a self-directed learning strategy for instruction in an introductory materials science course. Student’s performance metrics are directly compared to those from a more traditional lecture-oriented course. The raw data reveal that the students who have chosen the self-directed learning version of the course obtain a final mark higher than that obtained by the students who were taught in a conventional manner . Multi- variable analysis taking into account the GPA of the students, their level at their entry in the engineering program, the mark obtained in the common final exam and that obtained in quizzes were performed in order to point out the most influencing factor(s). It appears that the difference in student’s success is mostly due to a better performance of the self-directed learning students in the continuous evaluation by computerised quizzes, the other variables having a negligible effect. We conclude that the main cause of the higher success of the self-directed learning students in the course should probably be the consequence of their attitude toward their responsibility in the learning process.

1. Introduction.

The course ING1035 – Materials (2 credits) is an introductory course to materials science and is compulsory for the freshmen enrolled in all the engineering programs offered by Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal (QC), Canada. Since January 2002, this course is offered in two versions, in which the students use an identical didactic material (manual, CD-Rom, guide, web sites with exercisers, videos, …).

In the first version 1035C, which may be named “classic”, the students receive 3 h/week of formal lectures by a professor or lecturer. In the second version 1035D, which may be named “self-directed learning”, the students do not receive formal lectures and must learn by themselves. At the end of the semester, the students of 1035D (“self-directed learning” version) pass the same final written exam given to the students of 1035C (“classic” version). At the beginning of a semester, a student has the complete freedom to choose between the “classic” or the “self- directed learning” version; he cannot however switch from one version to the other in the course of the semester.

In this paper, the characteristics (similitude and difference) of the two versions will be firstly outlined. Then, we will present the results gathered during 6 consecutive semesters (from winter (1) To whom all requests must be addressed ( “Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Lafleur, P. G., & Bailon, J., & Clément, B. (2005, June), Same Course, Two Methods Of Learning : Assessment Of The Students Success Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14619

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