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Short, Instructional Module To Address Lifelong Learning Skills

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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

Techniques for Improving Teaching

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.996.1 - 7.996.7



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Paper Authors

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Beth Todd

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

Main Menu Session 1065

Short, Instructional Module to Address Lifelong Learning Skills

Beth A. Todd The University of Alabama

Introduction Every engineering program must demonstrate their graduates’ abilities to recognize the need for and engage in lifelong learning, as established in ABET 2000, Criterion 3(i). 1 While faculty agree that lifelong learning is an important skill and one that is significant in the future careers of their graduates, they often have limited experience and resources for teaching this topic. For many engineering programs, it is hard to demonstrate where lifelong learning is contained in their curricula.

Since the addition of a “lifelong learning” course does not seem practical or attractive, a short module on this topic has been developed. The module is designed to fit logically into many upper division courses, particularly those involving open ended projects requiring the discovery of additional information. The classroom material will fit into three 50-minute class periods in a standard course. Although the module would take about a week of lecture away from a course, an improvement in the students’ abilities should be seen further along in the curriculum to justify the time spent.

The module is organized to provide instruction on the objectives and associated tools as well as an opportunity to practice the new learning skills. This progressive development follows the format for teaching skills suggested by Woods et al 2, where a skill is introduced in a context-free environment and then bridged and extended into the discipline material.

The module contains a set of PowerPoint slides that can be adapted for any discipline and used in the classroom. The classroom material incorporates active and cooperative learning exercise s. There is an instructor’s guide with background information on the topic, suggested in-class and homework assignments, and some suggestions for grading assignments on this “soft” skill.

The draft module was tested by a faculty member in computer science with a multi-disciplinary class of undergraduate student evaluators. Post module surveys (ranking topics on a scale of 1-5) were completed by the evaluators. Additional feedback was collected from the instructor and a faculty observer. This feedback has been used to improve the module.

The following sections describe the contents of the module. Later in the paper, the results of testing are presented.

Pre-requisites This module assumes that the students have not had any previous instruction in the area of lifelong learning. However, students do not live in a vacuum. Experience with using this material in the classroom has shown that older, non-traditional students approach this material with more wisdom than students in their early 20’s. This is particularly important to consider when selecting the “non-technical” homework assignment. The more familiarity that

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

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Todd, B. (2002, June), Short, Instructional Module To Address Lifelong Learning Skills Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10081

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