Asee peer logo

Using Pert Analysis For Student Learning Contracts

Download Paper |


1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.480.1 - 2.480.2



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Tom Zickel

author page

Gary B. Randolph

author page

Ronald Goodnight

Download Paper |

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


USING PERT ANALYSIS FOR STUDENT LEARNING CONTRACTS Ron Goodnight, Gary Randolph, Tom Zickel Purdue University


Three technology disciplines used a Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) modified network for student teams to develop learning contracts. The adult learning andragogy approach1 was followed emphasizing student self-direction in their own learning, shared experiences, near-term application and performance feedback.

The PERT methodology was used in Computer Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology and Organizational Leadership courses in which student teams determined their final learning objectives, interim benchmark targets, and individual responsibilities in fulfilling these contracts. At each benchmark 360O evaluations were performed including team peers, instructor and lab assistants to provide timely feedback allowing for student and team improvement. Preliminary results indicate (1) improved learning, (2) increased acceptance of responsibility, and (3) a significant understanding of how team members must function to attain the desired results.


The andragogical methodology for college engineering students has been found to be superior to other teaching methods.2 Once a foundation has been established, students develop self-directed, team oriented projects, plus final and interim learning objectives. This method typically leads to improved learning, communications and problem resolution. This was the basis of three Purdue University instructors’ experimentation in classes with quite different content.

The computer technology course “Computer Programming Database Concepts” required the students to learn and use a modified PERT analysis using network paths, time requirements and student responsibility designations, to plan the complete development of a database. The team o reported on-going results and completed 360 evaluations at each benchmark.

The EET “Electronic System Fabrication” course first introduced project management processes, requirements and normal ‘problems.’ A five member team used the PERT analysis technique to layout the semester plan of action(s), accomplishments and learnings. They identified and developed a network showing the key tasks, responsibilities and deadlines. The instructor primarily acted as a facilitator and let the students struggle, as appropriate, so the normal team and project difficulties would be experienced. This, too, increased both their content and team- process learning.

The “Leadership Philosophy” senior level course also followed the learning contract PERT technique. Student teams determined the end and interim objectives and responsibilities. The instructor demonstrated several models the teams could follow but PERT plan coordination among the five teams was mandatory to complete their learning objectives.

Zickel, T., & Randolph, G. B., & Goodnight, R. (1997, June), Using Pert Analysis For Student Learning Contracts Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6883

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: © 1997 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