June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1183.1 - 15.1183.11
Teaching PLCs using the Kolb Learning Cycle
This work describes an integral approach in teaching programmable logic controllers (PLCs) using the Kolb learning cycle. PLCs represent a module in a computer-integrated manufacturing course in two engineering programs at our institution. The two main learning objectives of this module are to demonstrate practical knowledge of PLCs by being able to program them and to develop a sufficient increase in problem solving skills using physical and PLC ladder logic when designing simple automation projects. Combined lecture and laboratory activities implementing the Kolb experiential learning cycle for the PLC module are addressed. The success of the module is assessed and evaluated through student performance tests in solving design problems using ladder logic and through student surveys. Results demonstrate an effective method for student learning when lectures and labs are integrated in a meaningful manner.
In engineering education, depending teaching, a number of teaching and learning methodologies and their combinations are used. Since engineering is considered an applied discipline, many of the methods revolve around laboratory experiences as reinforcements to the engineering concepts taught during regular classroom-oriented sessions. Project-based learning and discovery-based learning are often used in engineering laboratories. However, integration of lectures and labs with their corresponding learning methods is difficult for a number of practical reasons.
Using the Kolb learning cycle students learn new concepts by following an activity pattern exemplified by the questions hy hat hat if?. By repeating the cycle, students gain deeper understanding of the subject.
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are used frequently in many automation projects in industry. They are often an integral part of most computer-integrated manufacturing systems whether controlling individual machines or entire processes. Thus, it is important that students learn to use these devices to be able to design automated equipment or processes. Furthermore, students should gain knowledge that can easily be applied to PLCs of different types and manufacturers using different programming environments and different programming languages.
In 1976 and subsequently in 1984 Kolb1,2 presented a theory of learning styles and incorporated 2 this theory into a theory of learning , , regardless of the learning style, people learn best if they follow this cycle consisting of four steps (axes): experiencing (concrete experience), watching (reflective observation), thinking/modeling (abstract conceptualization), and applying/doing (active experimentation). A set of activities
Jaksic, N. (2010, June), Teaching Plcs Using The Kolb Learning Cycle Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16954
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