Anne Nortcliffe and Alex Day
Sheffield Hallam University
The practical element of an undergraduate engineering degree is an important aspect of their education. Blummenfeld, et al (1991) highlights that a Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach enables students to discuss and research problems and solutions. PBL also;
- influences student’s motivation and interest (iBid; Matveev & Milter, 2010;Chen, et al., 2010; Goldman, et al., 2008);
- equips students with skills needed to be competitive in a diverse workforce, (Pomales-Garcia & Cortes, 2012; Specht, 2015)
- enables students to excel (Rosenfeld, 2016)
One way to incorporate the practical aspect and increase student interest is to build an “artefact”, enabling students to externalize their understanding, take greater ownership, influenced by creative freedom and control of the build, (Blummenfeld, et al., 1991). As Benjamin Franklin said,
“Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn”.
Carlson & Sullivan (1999) demonstrated a learning environment that supports design and construction increased student retention. Pan, et al.( 2009) emphasised that Production Practical Training in Engineering (PPT) is important for generating engineers fit for practice, especially their workshop ability. Bryant, et al. (2009) highlighted that blended learning including hands-on learning had the potential to facilitate learning retention.
This paper presents the research and design of an aerospace-related artefact -a model landing gear- for students in their first year to manufacture and assemble. The primary objective was create an artefact that would develop their knowledge and understanding of engineering practice, manufacturing and materials through the production of the artefact using the engineering workshop facilities. The paper will also show how it can then be used across first year modules to complement teaching of subjects including systems, design and mechanics. Furthermore it will be embedded in the second year of the aerospace engineering course to support learning of subjects such as structures and avionics.
Blummenfeld, P. C. et al., 1991. Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning. Educational Psychologist, 26 ((3&4)), pp. 369-398.
Bryant, A., Gieskes, K. & Mcgrann, R., 2009. The role of active learning through laboartory experimentation pertaining to memory retention in first-year engineering programs. San Antonio, TX, IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, pp. 1-6.
Carlson, L. E. & Sullivan, J. F., 1999. Hands-on engineering: learning by doing the inegrated teaching and learning programme. international journal of Engineering Education, 15(1), pp. 20-31.
Chen, Y., Peng, X. & Sun, J., 2010. National undergraduate electronic design contest: A vehicle for enhancing active learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(4), pp. 660-664.
Goldman, R. H., Cohen, A. P. & Sheahan, F., 2008. Using Seminar Blog to Enhance Student Participation and Learning in Public Health School Classes. merican journal of public health, 98(9), pp. 1658-1663.
Matveev, A. & Milter, R. G., 2010. An implementation of active learning: assessing the effectiveness of the team infomercial assignment. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(2), pp. 201-213.
Pomales-Garcia, C. & Cortes, K., 2012. enhancing engineering student skills through project-based learning. Mayagüez, IIE Annual Conference, pp. 1-6.
Rosenfeld, M., 2016. understanding the “surprises” in PBL; An exploration into the learning styles of teachers and their students. [Online] Available at: http://www.designworlds.com/techscape/Sherm_LStyles.html [Accessed 21 Jan 2016].
Specht, D. M., 2015. Probe Method’s Impact on Students’ Motivation and Critical Thinking Skills, s.l.: Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies.