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Student Perceptions on Learning - Inside and Outside Classrooms

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Qualitative Research Methods

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Sreyoshi Bhaduri Virginia Polytechnic and State University

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Sreyoshi Bhaduri is a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education. She is a proponent for use of technology in the classroom as well as education research. Sreyoshi is a Mechanical Engineer by training, who likes programming and algorithms to make life easier and more efficient. For her doctoral dissertation, she is exploring ways in which machine learning algorithms can be used by instructors in engineering classrooms.

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Dr. Matusovich is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. She has her doctorate in Engineering Education and her strengths include qualitative and mixed methods research study design and implementation. She is/was PI/Co-PI on 8 funded research projects including a CAREER grant. She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty. Her research expertise includes using motivation and related frameworks to study student engagement in learning, recruitment and retention in engineering programs and careers, faculty teaching practices and intersections of motivation and learning strategies. Matusovich has authored a book chapter, 10 journal manuscripts and more than 50 conference papers.

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Research show that engineering students need to develop more accurate conceptual understanding. Doing so requires the motivation to engage in the difficult work of developing a conceptual understanding which often requires more effective learning strategies than those that students currently use. Although prior studies have attributed learning to motivation based on theories for interest, relatedness, usefulness, or changes over time, we wanted to approach our data from a more open and emergent standpoint, and have our findings grounded in the views of our participants. In this research study, we wanted to understand student learning in settings such as those related to hobbies, sports, or other interests for which students describe having engaged in the activity of learning and compare our findings to learning in academic settings. We analyzed transcripts from semi-structured interviews with 17 engineering students. The interview was part of a larger study to understand engineering specific learning strategies. We see similarities in the behavioristic approach to learning through practice and reward in both the settings. However, important to note are the differences in learning in the two settings. We have described how engineering students often seem to value the coach or expert as a role model in non-academic settings, however, not many students seemed to equate faculty or academic coaches to serve as possible role models. Multiple students mentioned technology in helping them understand techniques and principles outside the classroom. However, the role of technology to aid in learning for concepts relevant inside the classroom was only highlighted by two participants. We believe that the findings from this research can inform engineering educators on successful strategies employed by engineering students in non-academic settings, and this in turn may be useful to incorporate in academic settings to improve student engagement and hence conceptual understanding.

Bhaduri, S., & Matusovich, H. M. (2017, June), Student Perceptions on Learning - Inside and Outside Classrooms Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28868

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