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The Changing Paradigm: Implications For Construction Engineering Education

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.406.1 - 2.406.5



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Erdogan Sener

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

Session 1221

The Changing Paradigm: Implications for Construction Engineering Education

Erdogan M. Sener Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis


A paradigm shift is taking place in American higher education such that the focus in higher education is no longer the approach or the process (i.e. instruction/teaching) but the end result or product (i.e. learning). Consequently, a very clear distinction is being drawn between the means and the end so that we do not mistake the means (teaching) for the end (learning). This paper focuses on what the implications of this paradigm shift are for construction engineering education. It presents what needs to be done to align what we are doing with the new paradigm to the benefit of students. It examines in what ways faculty roles in the educational process needs to change in order to ensure and enhance learning efficiency and effectiveness and what changes in educational technologies are more promising in facilitating changes from an Instruction Paradigm to a Learning Paradigm. It also details what we are doing at the Department of Construction Technology at IUPUI along these lines.


According to a recent article in the Change magazine 1, "A paradigm shift is taking hold in American higher education. The paradigm tat has governed our colleges is this: A college is an institution that exists to provide instruction. Subtly but profoundly we are shifting to a new paradigm: A college is an institution that exists to produce learning. This shift changes everything. It is both needed and wanted."

The new paradigm recognizes that the traditional paradigm of "instruction/teaching" is just a means for the ultimate end of "learning", and does not mistake the approach for the desired result. According to the new Learning Paradigm gradually taking shape in our curricula and classrooms success of all students is the target goal. This ultimate goal of success is defined not only by staying in school and earning a degree but by attaining of the right knowledge and skills that the students will need in their personal lives as well as in today's workplace.

This shift in paradigm, however, will inevitably bring with itself profound changes in the roles faculty will play and methods they will use to ascertain learning. In the Instruction/Teaching paradigm faculty undertake the role of knowledge experts in their specific disciplines who convey knowledge by lecturing. The Learning Paradigm, on the other hand, requires that faculty design the appropriate learning environments and employ the appropriate tools/techniques for ensuring success of learning on the part of all students. The Learning Paradigm's framework encompasses all approaches that enhance learning rather than simply focusing on lecturing which has been the cornerstone of the traditional Instruction Paradigm.

Sener, E. (1997, June), The Changing Paradigm: Implications For Construction Engineering Education Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6450

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