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Using the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model to Develop Educational Learning Modules: An Example from Statics

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Statics and Finite Element Analysis

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1687.1 - 26.1687.15



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Paper Authors


Francesca G. Polo Purdue University

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Francesca G. Polo is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her current research investigates motivational and cognitive affordances in game design to inform pedagogy. She earned both M.S. and B.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology and has over 15 years combined work experience in academia, industry, and a DOE sponsored laboratory. She is a member of ASEE, AAPT, and a Senior member of the IEEE.

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Using the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model to Develop Educational Learning Modules: An Example from StaticsThe use of computational modeling is fundamental to science and engineering. We present acognitive model of apprenticeship that incorporates computational modeling as an alternatemeans for overcoming students’ conceptual difficulties. Apprenticeship is rooted in helpingnovices become experts through guided learning. The cognitive model of apprenticeship placesfocus on cognitive and metacognitive aspects in achieving expertise. Learning principles of thismodel include: types of knowledge required for expertise, ways to promote its development,sequencing of the learning activities, and the social characteristics of the learning environment.Using these principles, we developed individual learning modules centered on difficult conceptsin Engineering Statics namely, moment of a force, truss analysis, and second moment of area –to guide conceptual understanding. Students complete each approximate three-hour learningmodule outside of class after they have attended lecture(s) and completed a series of textbookproblems over the individual concept. A course grader assesses performance by way of a rubric;a copy of which is provided in advance to the student as a reference, at the end of the module.These contextual learning modules can supplement already established STEM curricula and areused to target difficult concepts.

Polo, F. G. (2015, June), Using the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model to Develop Educational Learning Modules: An Example from Statics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25023

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