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Students Developing Concepts In Statics

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.521.1 - 3.521.10



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Paper Authors

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Siegfried M. Holzer

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Raul H. Andruet

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

Session 3606 Students Developing Concepts in Statics

Siegfried M. Holzer and Raul H. Andruet Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA 24061-0105

We are developing a learning environment in the subject area of statics that includes physical models, interactive multimedia, traditional pencil-and-paper activities, and cooperative learning in the framework of experiential learning (Kolb, 1984). We are using Authorware Professional to construct the multimedia program. We taught a section of statics in this format, which now includes topics from mechanics of materials, for the third time in the fall of 97 to students in architecture.

In this paper we describe the learning environment and illustrate how students are guided to develop the concept of moment and the condition of moment equilibrium.

Learning Environment Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. David Kolb (1984) Experiential learning focuses on the two fundamental activities of learning: grasping and transforming experience (Fig. 1). Each activity involves two opposite but complementary modes of learning. One can grasp an experience directly through the senses (sensory, inductive mode) or indirectly in symbolic form (conceptual, deductive mode). Similarly, there are two distinct ways to transform experience, by reflection or action. At any moment in the learning process, one or a combination of the four fundamental learning modes may be involved. It is significant that their synthesis leads to higher levels of learning (Kolb, 1984). This is confirmed in a study by Stice (1987), which shows that the students' retention of knowledge increases from 20% when only abstract conceptualization is involved to 90% when students are engaged in all four stages of learning.

We found it helpful to view the four-stage learning cycle as a spiral in time that extends beyond a session. For example, a concept or principle may be developed or applied in different contexts, at different times, and through different learning modes. This experience is shared by Wankat and Oreovicz (1993, p. 292): “For complex information the circle is traversed several times in a spiral cycle. The spiral may extend through several courses and on into professional practice as the individual learns the material in more and more depth.” Moreover, it is not always desirable to start with concrete experiences. We use the inductive approach, starting with concrete experiences, to help students discover and develop concepts, principles, and methods of analysis; the deductive approach, starting with concepts, principles, and procedures, provides a quick review and guidance in the solution of problems. Research supports this approach. For example,

Holzer, S. M., & Andruet, R. H. (1998, June), Students Developing Concepts In Statics Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7436

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