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Do Technological Advancements Lead to Learning Enhancements?: An Exploration in Virtual Product Dissection

[+] Author Affiliations
Elizabeth M. Starkey, Cailyn Spencer, Kevin Lesniak, Conrad Tucker, Scarlett R. Miller

Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

Paper No. DETC2017-68237, pp. V003T04A005; 11 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 19th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 14th International Conference on Design Education; 10th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5815-8
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Recent shifts into larger class sizes and online learning have caused engineering educators to rethink the way they integrate inductive, or active learning activities into their courses. One way engineering educators have done this is through the integration of new technological environments. However, little is known about how the type of technological environment utilized in active learning exercises impacts student learning and satisfaction. Thus, as a first step to understanding the impact of technological advancements on student learning and satisfaction, a study was conducted with 18 senior level undergraduate engineering students who were asked to perform product dissection, or the systematic disassembly of a product, using three technological interfaces (computer, iPad, immersive virtual reality). Variations in the complexity of the product dissected were also explored. The results of this study indicate that variations in technological interfaces did not impact student learning as assessed by a Student Learning Assessment (SLA). However, the complexity of the product dissected did impact learning, with students scoring significantly lower on the SLA when dissecting the most complex product. The results also indicated that students perceived learning and satisfaction were highest when using the immersive virtual reality system. These results suggest that the costs of investing in more technological advanced systems for product dissection may not yet outweigh the educational benefits. However, the increase in student satisfaction with VR environments has the potential to positively impact student retention in engineering programs.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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