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The Pedagogical And Andragogical Validity Of Capstone Projects

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.637.1 - 5.637.6

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Paper Authors

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Ronald K. Goodnight

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Gary B. Randolph

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Dennis O. Owen

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

Session 1675

The Pedagogical and Andragogical Validity of Capstone Projects Dennis Owen, Ron Goodnight, Gary Randolph Purdue University


Non-traditional students have been the mainstay of regional and satellite university campuses for many years. Purdue University’s Anderson, Indiana site is no exception. In an effort to maximize the educational experience of these adult learners, the faculty has experimented with several different instructional methodologies. Some of these experiments have proven successful while others have not. In order to better develop these instructional methods, the authors have researched adult and child learning and developed a set of assumptions about each. These assumptions have been used to direct the development and application of different instructional methodologies.

Recently, the Anderson campus of Purdue University has experienced a significant increase in its traditional student population. These traditional students do not seem to perform as well when methodologies designed for non-traditional students are employed. The faculty found it necessary to re-visit the basic assumptions regarding traditional and non-traditional learners. This re-visitation became the catalyst for a re-evaluate of their instructional methodologies. They began a search for instructional techniques that would produce good results in mixed groups of learners.

This paper will review the basic assumptions about adult and child learning and present a comparison and contrast of the two. Based upon the assumptions presented, the paper will illustrate how the capstone project methodology can produce good results in a mixed group of traditional and non-traditional learners. A data communications course example of the capstone project methodology will be presented to illustrate the technique.

I. Introduction

The application of technology in the workplace has had a great impact on the types of activities workers perform. As technology changes the workplace, workers need to change. These re- tooling workers have been a significant portion of the student population at regional and satellite university campuses. Purdue University’s School of Technology at Anderson program is an example of this. At one time, non-traditional students comprised over ninety percent of the student body of this campus. These non-traditional students averaged over 30 years old and worked full time. These students were adult learners, had special learning needs, and required special teaching methodologies to maximize their learning. In the United States, Malcolm Knowles introduced the andragogy method, defining it as “the art and science of helping adults learn”. Knowles’ primary premise is that virtually all adult learning is self-directed through one’s life-based roles, experiences, and interactions.1

Goodnight, R. K., & Randolph, G. B., & Owen, D. O. (2000, June), The Pedagogical And Andragogical Validity Of Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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