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Implementing the Learning Factory Model in a Laboratory Setting

[+] Author Affiliations
Mukasa E. Ssemakula, Gene Y. Liao

Wayne State University

Paper No. IMECE2004-59803, pp. 487-491; 5 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Anaheim, California, USA, November 13 – 19, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4723-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-4178-2, 0-7918-4179-0, 0-7918-4180-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


The Learning Factory concept was first developed as part of the TRP/NSF funded Manufacturing Engineering Education Partnership (MEEP). The objective of the Learning Factory (LF) is to integrate a practice-based engineering curriculum that balances analytical and theoretical knowledge with physical facilities for product realization in an industrial-like setting. The LF model emphasizes practical experience and consequently, Engineering Technology (ET) and other programs that emphasize hands-on experiences for students are well suited to implementing the LF model. This paper describes a project whose goal is to adapt the LF model for implementation in regular academic programs oriented to practical applications without having to build an actual factory. This work is being accomplished by modifying five carefully selected courses in our programs, leading to the use of coordinated projects across those courses. The projects focus on the making of functional model engines. In the various courses, students will generate CAD drawings of all the engine components, produce process plans for and make those components, and assemble and test the engines. This will afford students a good understanding and experience of the full range of issues involved in product design, manufacturing planning, fabrication, assembly and testing of functional products. Because the project is based on modifying existing courses rather than developing new ones, we expect the results of the project to be easily adaptable to a wide range of programs.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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