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Video-based, Game-integrated Concept Tutors – Effectiveness in Freshman Courses

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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

First-year Programs Division Technical Session 5: Using Video, Games, and More in the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1702.1 - 26.1702.14



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Paper Authors


Eliza A Banu Auburn University

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Dr. Eliza Banu has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University of Bucharest and completed her Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University in 2014. Dr. Banu's research interests are in the dynamics of impact of rigid bodies and human with granular matter as well as developing innovative instructional materials. She has been working with LITEE (Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education) at Auburn University since 2010.

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Sai Maharaja Swamidason Auburn University

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After graduating from National Institute of Technology. Tiruchirapalli, India with a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, I started working for an automotive company, Mahindra & Mahindra, in India in the field of product design in the 2010. After working there for a couple of years I joined the master’s program in mechanical engineering at Auburn University, USA, where I was involved in developing concept tutors for engineering students. After graduating from Auburn University in December 2014, I started working in Honda R&D Americas Inc.

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P.K. Raju Laboratory for Innovative Technology & Engineering Education (LITEE)

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Dr. P. K. Raju is the Thomas Walter Distinguished professor of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University. He is the co-founder and director of the NSF-funded Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE). LITEE has been recently recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as one of the model programs in the country that has successfully infused real world experiences into engineering undergraduate education. He is also the founder and director of the Auburn Engineering Technical Assistance Program (AETAP). Prior to coming to Auburn in 1984, Dr. Raju held faculty positions in several universities in India and visiting positions at the Catholic University of America, Purdue University, and the Technical University of Berlin. Dr. Raju received his Ph.D. from the Indian institute of Technology, Madras, in 1977. He has made significant research contributions in engineering education and innovations, acoustics, noise control, nondestructive evaluation and technology transfer, resulting in award-winning and significant breakthroughs. He has received a total of $12 million in funding, including grants from industries, the United Nations, the National Science Foundation, NIST, NIH, EDA and other U.S. and international agencies. He has published 24 books, eight book chapters and 200 papers in journals and conference proceedings. He has received several awards for his teaching, research and outreach work from INEER, NASA, NSF, ASME, ASEE, Auburn University and others. He served as an United Nations and UNDP expert and as a World Bank lecturer. He has held Invited Professorships at the Université Bordeaux I, Talence, and Université Du Havre, Le Harve, France. He has been an invited/ keynote speaker at several national and international conferences. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India), and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of India. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research

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Pramod Rajan Laboratory for Innovative Technology & Engineering Education (LITEE)

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Dr. P. Rajan got his Bachelors in Mechatronics Engineering from Bharathiar University, India in 2004 and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University in 2013. He has worked with the Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE) at Auburn University for 8 years. His research focuses on development and testing of innovative instructional materials like case studies, smart scenarios and serious games to improve student learning in engineering classes. He is currently a Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Mechanical Engineering department at Auburn University

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Video Based, Game Integrated Concept Tutors – Effectiveness in Freshman CoursesUniversities have progressively improved in regard to the usage of technology in teaching-learning methodologies. Tools like videoconferences, chats and blogs, podcasting, webcastingand webinars, video streaming, and networked educational videos have rapidly appeared.Research has shown that videos are a helpful tool to engage students with different learningstyles beyond the textbook and traditional lecture. They can also increase the students’enthusiasm about the concepts presented, and thereby increase information retention. The focusis to engage students in intellectual work that facilitates the assimilation of knowledge in adisciplined manner that will have value beyond school. An on-campus survey created by studentsat a large southeastern university has shown that 70% of respondents acknowledged they havetrouble retaining lecture material. The supplemental material they are using included YouTube,DVDs, Khan Academy, tutoring study guide from bookstore, and Seventy-fourpercent of the participants said that even though the above mentioned materials were helpful,they lacked step-by-step instructions and proper feedback. Their comments also suggested theneed for voice-over instructions, games and easy to understand practice material.Many students who take the introduction to engineering classes are freshmen and need help inlearning engineering concepts. In this study, we discuss the design, development,implementation and evaluation of a video and game-based instructional tool called concept tutor.These concept tutors focus on one concept at a time and they can be used as supplementalmaterial to a lecture. These tutors provide additional help to students in explaining the conceptstaught in class and reinforces their learning. The purpose of concept tutors is to increase theundergraduate students’ enthusiasm and attention towards the concepts taught using thisinstructional methodology. The concept tutors will engage the students in a learning processmeant to improve retention rate.The concept tutor consists of three phases, with the first being definition and real-worldapplications of the concept. The second phase includes a step-by-step presentation of the conceptthrough a targeted problem. The concept tutor in this phase is split into topic videos. The thirdphase consists of assessments. After viewing each video the students are required to answer a setof questions that tests the concepts they learned. The questions after each topic are in a formatthat allows the students to choose the environment of the testing. They can choose either aregular multiple-choice assessment or a game-based assessment.Two concept tutors were built to introduce Simulink in MATLAB (by MathWorks) to studentsas a graphical programming tool for controlling a LEGO Mindstorms NXT Robot. These concepttutors were developed to allow a self-paced review of Simulink GUI and programming logicconcepts. The third concept tutor developed addresses the topic of Units Conversions andDimensions. This Tutor is used to stress the importance of usage of proper units in engineeringas well as reinforce the need and method of converting a physical quantity from one unit toanother.The concept tutors were tested in “Introduction to Mechanical Engineering” courses withfreshman students. The 4P model (Presage, Pedagogy, Process and Product) was used to evaluatethe concept tutors. According to this model the student’s attitude towards learning (processfactors) is affected by presage conditions and instructional methodology (pedagogy factor). Theprocess factors in turn affects the learning outcomes (product factors). This study was conductedin an experimental/control group setting and the main objective was to evaluate the effectivenessof concept tutors in achieving specific learning outcomes such as student performance andengagement. Quantitative results show a significant improvement in student performance andqualitative results obtained indicate that students find the concept tutors very helpful whilelearning engineering concepts; the students also preferred this method to complement a lecture.The development methodology of these tutors and evaluation results are also discussed in thispaper.

Banu, E. A., & Swamidason, S. M., & Raju, P., & Rajan, P. (2015, June), Video-based, Game-integrated Concept Tutors – Effectiveness in Freshman Courses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25038

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