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Teaching A Paperless, All Digital Course That Utilizes The Experiential Learning Theory (Elt)

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Technology in Classrooms - Construction Engineering Perspective

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Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1197.1 - 11.1197.7



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Paper Authors


Bob McCullouch Purdue University

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Dr. McCullouch, P.E. is a Research Scientist in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. At Purdue he has been the PI or co-PI on over $2.5 million of research and has taught numerous classes. He developed and taught the first all digital, paperless class at Purdue University, CE 526 - Design of Temporary Structures, in the Spring Semester, 2004. He has also developed numerous on-line, computer-based training tools used in the civil engineering industry.

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Joohyoung Lee Purdue University-Calument

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JOO HYOUNG LEE, Ph.D., P.E., is an assistant professor at Purdue University Calumet. His research career includes IT-based construction engineering and management system and computer-based instructional model design. He has developed information technology applications in civil engineering, numerous Web-based instructional programs, and database systems sponsored by Federal Highway Administration and Indiana Department of Transportation.

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

Teaching a Paperless, All Digital Course that Utilizes the Experiential Learning Theory (ELT)

Bob G. McCullouch, Joo Hyoung Lee

School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University Department of Construction Management and Engineering Technologies, Purdue University Calumet


This paper describes a course, CE 526 - Design of Temporary Structures, taught in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University in the spring semester of 2004. This course features a digital version of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT). ELT has been developed by several researchers and experimentally implemented in higher education for more than a decade. The course features the use of ELT in a paperless classroom. The paperless class was made possible through the use of a wireless network and pen-based tablet devices used by the instructor and the students. The course features all content (topics, references, quizzes, tests, homework) in digital form and a customized web site with features for this type of class. This paper will describe this course and lessons learned from using this approach. This approach provides improved productivity for delivering educational content in a university.


This paper describes a course, “CE526 - Design of Temporary Structures”, in Civil Engineering at Purdue University that adapts Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) for learning content development and utilizes wireless technology in the classroom. To investigate how the theory can influence learning/teaching in engineering education, the authors explore the learning theory and apply to a course in civil engineering. In order to achieve a new paradigm of the computer- based learning in engineering education, the approach utilizes wireless technology along with Pen-based Tablet PC used by the instructor and the students in the classroom. This enables a new learning environment called “Paperless Classroom.”

The ELT is a learning theory that describes learning as a four-step cycle based upon the orthogonal relationship of two continuums of cognitive growth and learning2, 3. Kolb describes experiential learning proceeds through four modes: Concrete Experience (CE), Abstract Conceptualization (AC), Reflective Observation (RO), and Active Experimentation (AE) based on how people obtain knowledge and develop2. To date, the new direction of ELT is conceptualizing an idealized learning cycle where the learner “touches all the bases” of the four modes of learning in a recursive process4. The complete learning cycle requires all four steps (Figure 1); thus, a proficient learner is able to complete all steps in the cycle although one prefers certain modes of learning7.

McCullouch, B., & Lee, J. (2006, June), Teaching A Paperless, All Digital Course That Utilizes The Experiential Learning Theory (Elt) Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--148

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