A new wave in engineering education: understanding the beat of active learning through innovative tutorial assessment

Kaufman, Kristen Kay
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Recent efforts in engineering education research have set in motion reform advocating more active learning in the classroom. Active learning centers on the student and consists of pedagogical approaches to address the broad spectrum of educational backgrounds and demographics. In order to further the research focused on active learning products, appropriate and innovative assessment methods must be developed. For this thesis, innovative active learning modules are the focus of the analysis. In total, 12 Finite Element tutorials are designed and assessed using both statistical analysis and confidence interval correlations. Fundamental and informative assessment strategies have been developed to iteratively improve active learning approaches. Results of this process show that the finite element tutorials lead to enhanced student learning that can span across student demographics. Certain cases do exist where unique learning styles or personality types respond more positively to this pedagogical technique than others. Global outcomes are presented to assess these tutorials cumulatively, as active learning products. Finally, the assessment methodology is redesigned into a useful toolkit for educators to follow in furthering efforts of integrating active learning into any engineering classroom.