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Tipping The Scales: Finding The Most Effective Balance Between Lecture Versus Active Learning Across Academic Levels In Engineering

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Best of the NEE

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

13.1290.1 - 13.1290.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4361

Download Count

54

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Paper Authors

biography

Beverly Jaeger Northeastern University

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Dr. Beverly Jaeger is a member of Northeastern Universit⁹s Gateway Team, a group of faculty expressly devoted to the first-year Engineering Program at Northeastern University. The focus of this team is on
providing a consistent, comprehensive, and constructive educational experience that endorses the student-centered and professionally-oriented mission of Northeastern University. Teaching across all academic levels, she is also affiliated with the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University.

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Margaret Bates Northeastern University

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Maggie Bates received a B.S. in History. from Salem State College, and an M.S in Human Resource Counseling. and M.Ed. in College Student Personnel from Northeastern University, where she is currently a member of the Engineering Student Services staff. She serves primarily as an academic advisor to upper-class Chemical and Civil Engineering students. In addition, she teaches with engineering faculty members in Northeastern University's Introduction to the Study of Engineering course for first-year engineering students.

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Brittany Damon Northeastern University

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Brittany Damon and Alison Reppy are 5th-year students in the 5-year Industrial Engineering Programming at Northeastern University. These juniors each have had 3 cooperative learning experiences, working outside the university in IE and have taken a strong interest in Motivation and Learning in Engineering Education, undertaking this research above and beyond their course and career work.

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Alison Reppy

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Brittany Damon and Alison Reppy are 5th-year students in the 5-year Industrial Engineering Programming at Northeastern University. These Seniors each have had 3 cooperative learning experiences, working outside the university in IE and have taken a strong interest in Motivation and Learning in Engineering Education, undertaking this research above and beyond their course and career work.

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

Tipping the Scales: Finding the Most Effective Balance between Lecture and Active Learning across Academic Levels in Engineering I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand. -Confucius Abstract As seen in the quote above, the concept of active learning can be traced back to the time of Confucius (551-479 BC). Of late, much work and research has been done on the effectiveness and engagement value of experiential education1,2,5,6. Research indicates that in the proper measure and implementation, lessons can be successfully embedded into well-planned activities to illustrate and/or supplement the course lecture content to effectively educate students as young engineers2 and simultaneously challenge and inspire them5. However, with the current trend of incorporating more active learning into our curricula, we are mindful that a “one size fits all” approach may not be the best option to achieve the most success for all classes and levels in engineering. This research sets out to identify the framework for a proportional profile of learning modes across academic levels in engineering, starting with the freshman year and tracing on through to the senior year. Strong correlations between the infusion of carefully selected and implemented active learning modes and metrics of amount learned and overall teaching effectiveness have already been established. Thus, we extended the research to investigate the perceived value and effectiveness of active learning (AL) versus traditional lecture (TL), primarily for core engineering courses. This follow-on work sought to assign percentage approximations to the ideal balance of AL vs. TL at various engineering class levels.

Our premise was that, as students mature academically, their requirements concerning class design will also change and they will change in such a way as to be different from each other across progressive levels. Essentially, we expected linear incremental change. Students across three academic levels were surveyed on several elements of class presentation and the results were insightful in terms of the ratio of active learning to traditional lecture and the reasons for the perceived effectiveness of each. In general, the first-year freshmen engineering students preferred more AL to TL in a 55:45 ratio, third-year middlers expressed a significantly lower inclination toward active learning at 40:60, while surprisingly the fifth- year seniors reported their overall AL:TL proportion at approximately 60:40, reversing back to a ratio higher than the freshmen. Further enquiry was made as to the rationale for these profiles as well as what motivates and engages students in class. The responses are presented and evaluated in light of academic year (level), learning style, and GPA to determine which, if any, of these factors have a bearing on the results.

Introduction Philosophical and Sociological Elements. As noted above, the notion of experiential learning has been in existence since the time of Confucius. Active learning, particularly in engineering, exhibits a decided concentration on group work and collective learning experiences. Marx and Engels also observed that the production of goods and services requires the “creative capabilities of individuals” and that these individuals be “inherently social” (Ritzer, 2000). George Herbert Meade, one of the later classical sociologists also shared this belief on a more micro-sociological level with his view that society as a whole develops the mind and actions of the individual through a series of social processes11.

“We are not in social psychology, building up the behavior of the social group in terms of the behavior of separate individuals composing it; rather, we are starting out with a given social whole of complex group activity, into which we analyze (as elements) the behavior of each of the separate individuals composing it…”8

Jaeger, B., & Bates, M., & Damon, B., & Reppy, A. (2008, June), Tipping The Scales: Finding The Most Effective Balance Between Lecture Versus Active Learning Across Academic Levels In Engineering Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4361

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015