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Teaching Circuit Concepts Using Evidence-based Instructional Approaches: A Systematic Review

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Improvements in ECE Circuit Analysis

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Alejandro H. Espera Jr Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Alejandro is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech and is concurrently earning credits for an M.A. degree in Data Analytics and Applied Statistics at the same institution. He is also an assistant professor with the Electronics Engineering Department at the Ateneo de Davao University, Philippines. He has a B.S. degree in Electronics Engineering from Ateneo de Davao University and an M.S. degree in Electronics Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. He has done and published research in the areas of additive manufacturing (3D printing) for electronics and the design of smart electronic systems. His current research interests include the design of technology-mediated learning environments in teaching electrical and electronics engineering concepts, and curricular innovations for additive and advanced manufacturing programs.

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Nicole P. Pitterson Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Nicole is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining VT, Dr. Pitterson was a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University. She holds a PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue University and other degrees in Manufacturing Engineering from Western Illinois University and a B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Technology, Jamaica. Her research interest is eliciting conceptual understanding of AC circuit concepts using active learning strategies.

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An educational strategy is evidence-based if objective evidence is used to inform the design of an academic program or guide the instructional practices. Studies show that the unsatisfactory performance of engineering graduates in competency-based examinations is due to a mismatch between teacher expectations and student learning. Since traditional lecturing is the most commonly used format for course delivery in electrical circuit courses, teaching and learning of abstract concepts such as electricity require the use of varied and efficient strategies aimed at encouraging students to engage with the material on a deeper level. In keeping with the need to actively engage the students while helping them understand electric circuits, instructors need to be creative and effective in their approach to teaching. The purpose of this systematic review is to survey and investigate the current research on evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) being done in teaching electrical circuits across undergraduate engineering and sciences education fields. We explore previous work on using EBIPs as an effective approach to teaching electrical circuits by trying to answer the questions “What evidence-based instructional practices have been reported to have the most impact on students' learning of circuit concepts? How are these practices implemented in engineering learning environments?” Also, common issues with the implementation of these strategies and continuous improvements were identified. Finally, a synthesis has been highlighted in this review that intends to provide a learner-centered, cognitive, flexible and varied approach to teaching electrical circuits with the use of existing instructional practices based on evidences of effective student learning.

Espera, A. H., & Pitterson, N. P. (2019, June), Teaching Circuit Concepts Using Evidence-based Instructional Approaches: A Systematic Review Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33344

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