Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Undergraduate engineering laboratories are considered an essential part of engineering education curricula, as they provide an environment for hands-on learning. An important factor contributing to the effectiveness of laboratories is being prepared both conceptually and procedurally, which can be achieved through pre-laboratory exercises. Past research indicates that well-designed pre-laboratory exercises can clarify the expected work, engage students and encourage them to learn related theoretical concepts. Effective preparation through pre-lab exercises can also help reduce cognitive load and increase meaningful learning. However, in order to achieve these goals, pre-laboratory exercises should explain related theories/concepts, and introduce application in addition to describing the experimental procedures. Too often, students are not given adequate explanation as to why an experiment is performed, why they should care about the experiment and its relevance to real world engineering practice. We hypothesize that this lack of broader contextualization can detract from their motivation.
Research is currently being conducted to enhance the laboratory-based learning experience of chemical engineering undergraduate students at [name of the university], by developing web-based pre-laboratory modules. The content and design of these modules are in accordance with the cognitive theory of multimedia learning, and the expectancy-value theory of motivation. The pre-laboratory modules will be evaluated through a chemical engineering undergraduate course. Student perceptions will be sought through a survey to assess perceived learning and motivation.
Each pre-lab module will consist of a few short animation videos. Students can control the pace of videos or re-watch them as necessary. Each video is followed by a couple of questions, which students have to respond before moving to the next video. These questions force recall, and provide students with an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned in the videos. Explanatory feedback is then provided for each question. These principles of multimedia learning can help reduce cognitive load during multimedia learning.
The content of the videos include real-world relevance and the utility value of the experiments to help motivate deeper learning when performing the laboratories. According to the expectancy-value theory of motivation, utility value is a factor contributing to student motivation. Students are also presented with connection of theories to procedural steps.
This work in progress paper presents a detailed discussion on the content and design of these pre-laboratory modules, which are informed by the above-mentioned theories. In addition, the design of a survey to assess perceived learning and motivation is also discussed. However, no survey data will be available by the time of the draft paper submission.
Moozeh, K., & Tihanyi, D., & Farmer, J. L., & Evans, G. (2018, June), Work in Progress: Development of Web-based Pre-laboratory Modules to Increase Motivation and Reduce Cognitive Load Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31283
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