Improving Student Knowledge Through Experiential Learning - A Hands-On Statics Lab at Virginia Tech
Alcorn, Christopher G.
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Improving Student Knowledge through Experiential Learning â A Hands-On Statics Lab at Virginia Tech By: Christopher G. Alcorn It has been well documented that humans learn better through a combination of hearing, seeing, and hands-on experience than through hearing and seeing alone. Despite these findings, the majority of college instruction is through lecture. This research seeks to improve the quality of structural education for students in Building Construction, Architecture, and Engineering by allowing them to test theoretical structural concepts in a hands-on, lab environment that parallels their statics lecture class. The paper provides a background on the experiential learning approach, presents examples of others engaged in similar research, discusses the details of developing the experience-based lab class, describes the labs and their structure, and summarizes the outcome of this model class. Lessons learned, including which type of student might benefit most from the experiential learning format and shortcomings of applying the experiential learning model are discussed along with recommendations for future work. An appendix at the end of the paper displays the workbook developed to teach the class as well as pictures of the labs in action and costs of lab equipment. This project is a part of a multi-college initiative at Virginia Tech to develop a three-lab sequence to parallel Statics, Mechanics of Deformable Bodies, and Mechanical Behavior.
- Masters Theses