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“The Learning Network”: A Constructivist Teaching Model Using Web Didactics, User Monitoring, And New Media Technologies In The Education Of Civil Engineering Students

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Educational Issues in Civil Engineering

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1387.1 - 14.1387.15



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Paper Authors

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Heiko Merle Darmstadt University of Technology

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Joerg Lange Darmstadt University of Technology

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

“The learning network” - A constructivist Teaching Model using Web-Didactics, User-Monitoring and new Media Technologies in the Education of Civil Engineering Students


The teaching model described in this paper covers the civil engineering subject area of “theory of stability” (TOS) and “elastic second order theory” (ESOT). Both areas are based on the theory of differential equations. They can be used apart from each other but together they build a global coherence. The traditional teaching model at the Technische Universität Darmstadt follows the usual triad of lecture, followed by an instructed exercise and homework. The new model presented in this paper will give an alternative teaching model the same temporal and contextual conditions.

The objective of the new conceptual model is a deeper understanding of the content by the learner. First of all students have to identify the individual phenomenon of each area. After this they have to acquire basic knowledge of each area including the theory, the mathematical and mechanical descriptions, different analysis methods and the applications in practice. Based on this knowledge a higher knowledge can arise. By combining and analyzing the single areas the coherence of both can be build. Once the students are aware of this coherence engineering problems in the field of compression loaded systems can be identified and solved.

The new concept is based on a three step model. First of all the knowledge unit will be initiated. The whole sphere of knowledge will be presented. Also a connection between the new sphere of knowledge and the prior knowledge will be built. Furthermore a personal and emotional engagement between the learner and the knowledge can arise.

Following the first step the students will be divided into two groups with independent knowledge content. One group handles the subject TOS and the other group the subject ESOT. It is possible to divide these two subjects because both are based on the same mechanical theory but can be achieved in an independent manner.

In this step learning will be done immediately on the content. The students will work in a web based setting. The content will be presented in a multilinked semantic network. According to the Radical Constructivist Theory of von Foerster and Glaserfeld [1], [2] based on Piagets constructivist model a personal differentiation takes place by the individual learning method. In this way the students can choose their own speed of learning. Furthermore an explorative learning takes place. Thereto every student can choose his own path of learning in the semantic

Merle, H., & Lange, J. (2009, June), “The Learning Network”: A Constructivist Teaching Model Using Web Didactics, User Monitoring, And New Media Technologies In The Education Of Civil Engineering Students Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4684

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