Supporting Self-directed Learning in Cyberlearning

Project No.
1431739
PI Name
Kathy Jackson
Institution
The Pennsylvania State University



Abstract 1

Supporting Self-directed Learning in Cyberlearning

Presentation Type
Poster
Team
Kathy L Jackson, Penn State Kyoung Kim, Wayne State Karl Haapala, Oregon State Carolyn Peneska, Wayne State


Need

According the NSF, cyberlearning combines networked computing and communication technologies. This powerful combination has the potential to transform education because of its ability to provide customized interactions for a variety of learners on a wide array of topics. Engineering students in particular are benefiting from cyberlearning, for example, from interacting with scientific data to working remotely on teams. Cyberlearning experiences for engineering students can be used to supplement as well as replace traditional classroom instruction. While the purpose of the cyberlearning varies, students need to be able to work independently within a cyberlearning environment. In many respects, promoting student autonomy and self-direction is good pedagogy for studentsメ capacity for self-direction and self-regulations are key determinants of their academic success.

In a NSF cyberlearning project, we are creating cyberlearning modules that are based on the Kolb Model of experiential learning. In this four stage learning cycle, learning begins with a concrete experience followed by a reflection on what they experienced. Next they continue to reflect (as in abstract conceptualization) where they come up with new ideas based on the first two stages of the cycle. The final stage is where learners actively experiment with new learning to try out what they have learned. While there is evidence that Kolbメs cycle can enhance learning, we are exploring how to build into the cycle an underlying framework to support student self-direction of learning. That is, students need to be able to take initiative when they are learning and be able to set goals as well as manage and monitor their learning. More specifically, self-directed learning involves three overlapping dimensions: motivation, self-management, and self-monitoring.

Goals

Major goals of the project include: 1) Enabling students to attain a deeper conceptual understanding of sustainable life cycle engineering, 2) Providing a distributed cyberlearning environment for team-based and personalized design activities that consider human controlled or initiated environmental impacts of products, and 3) Supporting learner's self-directed learning in a cyberlearning environment by promoting motivation, self-management and self-monitoring..

Major activities of the project are as follows: 1) Development of constructionist learning modules using Kolb's model to increase awareness of the effects of purchasing decisions on the environment, 2) Development of a framework that supports learner's self-directed approaches in a cyberlearning environment.

Approach

we are creating cyberlearning modules that are based on the Kolb Model of experiential learning. In this four stage learning cycle, learning begins with a concrete experience followed by a reflection on what they experienced. Next they continue to reflect (as in abstract conceptualization) where they come up with new ideas based on the first two stages of the cycle. The final stage is where learners actively experiment with new learning to try out what they have learned. While there is evidence that Kolbメs cycle can enhance learning, we are exploring how to build into the cycle an underlying framework to support student self-direction of learning. That is, students need to be able to take initiative when they are learning and be able to set goals as well as manage and monitor their learning. More specifically, self-directed learning involves three overlapping dimensions: motivation, self-management, and self-monitoring.

This project brings together experts from the design engineering, industrial and manufacturing engineering, and educational domains to develop the requisite engineering methods/tools and supporting learning modules.

Outcomes

Initial work has focused on three primary areas. First, project-based learning activities from courses across the three universities were evaluated and compared. It was found that course level, student preparation, and amount of scaffolding impacted the design outcomes and student perception of learning. Second, work led to preliminary tools to evaluate the effect of product attributes on processes and parameters, suppliers, and environmental impacts. Third, a web-based interface for the CooL:SLiCE platform has been developed and prototyped to demonstrate product visualization and reporting of manufacturing and supply chain analysis results. This work provides a basis to further advance the CooL:SLiCE platform modules, and to extend the online framework for to address students' autonomy and self-direction. Next we will create prototype lessons and beta-test these with students at our three universities.

Broader Impacts

This project aims to transform undergraduate cyberlearning engineering education. Experiences and data collected will inform how engineering curricula may be improved by integrating constructionism and cyberlearning approaches, specifically for improving understanding of product sustainability analysis. The project is directly impacting pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate researchers at each institution, as well as offering the opportunity for them to interact with faculty researchers from across disciplines and across universities. Project results have been communicated to audiences at engineering education, design engineering, and manufacturing engineering conferences, as well as an industrial/academia energy forum.

Unexpected Challenges

Due to the timings of courses throughout the year, differences in academic calendars, and differences in Institutional Review Board policies among the three universities, conducting cross-university surveys and analysis of courses has been a challenge. We have dealt with this issue by maintaining a flexible, adaptive approach to survey development and delivery.

Citations

ユ Kim, K. Y., Psenka, C., Haapala, K. R., Jackson, K., 2015. Constructionist Learning for Environmentally Responsible Design. In: 122nd American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference & Exposition, 2015, June 14-17, Seattle, Washington.
ユ Kim, K. Y., Psenka, C., Haapala, K. R., Jackson, K., 2015. Constructionist Learning for Environmentally Responsible Design. Poster presented at the 122nd American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference & Exposition, 2015, June 14-17, Seattle, Washington.
ユ Raoufi, K., Kim, K. Y., Psenka, C., Jackson, K., Haapala, K. R., 2015. Manufacturing and Supply Chain Analysis to Support Sustainable Design. Poster presented at the 10th ASME Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) Conference, 2015, June 8-12, Charlotte, North Carolina.
ユ Kim, K. Y., Psenka, C., Haapala, K. R., Jackson, K., 2015. New Constructionism to Support Deep Understanding of Sustainable Life-cycle Engineering. Presented at the IIE Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Sessions (ISERC) Annual Conference & Expo, 2015, May 30-June 2, Nashville, Tennessee.