Title

A Multimodal Approach to Classroom Instruction: An Example from a Process Control Class

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Publication Source

International Journal for Engineering Education

Volume

26

Issue

6

Inclusive pages

1428-1444

Publisher

Dublin Institute of Technology * Tempus Publications

Place of Publication

Ireland

ISBN/ISSN

0949-149X

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

The use of active, cooperative and inductive learning approaches has been shown to be beneficial to student learning. Traditional engineering activities of projects, simulation exercises and laboratories provide cooperative and active experiences outside the classroom. By bringing these traditional engineering activities into the classroom a multimodal approach to education can be used where a variety of activities enhance the classroom experience. A process control course has been developed that integrates the use of experimental kits, simulations, problem solving exercises and instructor content delivery in a single setting. In this setting any of the above modes of instruction can be used as is appropriate to the progress of the course. Multiple assessments have been used to evaluate and refine the modular kits and the multimodal approach of this class. These assessments include observations by different instructors, anonymous student surveys, student focus groups, and observed student problem solving sessions. Overall the kits and the integrated approach have had a positive effect on the class. Student focus groups brought up all of the approaches used when asked what helped them to understand and remember the material. Students like the integration of kits and simulation in the classroom setting and have shown a particular preference for class sessions where a short activity is used to raise an issue and then followed up with detailed content on the issue. For these sessions students have suggested returning to the experimental kits at the end of the section— encouraging instructors toward a learning cycle approach.

Keywords

inductive learning; cooperative learning; process control; cycles; classroom experiments; simulation

Disciplines

Engineering

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