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Title: Beyond Making: Application of Constructionist Learning Principles in Engineering Prototyping Centers
The creation of student-centered spaces for making and prototyping continues to be a growing trend in higher education. These spaces are especially relevant in engineering education as they provide opportunities for engineering students to engage in authentic and collaborative problemsolving activities that can develop students’ 21st-century skills [1–3]. Principles of constructionist learning theory, which promote knowledge creation through development of a physical product [4,5], may be applied to support learning within these spaces. Beyond the construction of objects, this learning theory emphasizes a learning culture where teachers serve as guides to collaborative and student-driven learning [6]. This research seeks to understand how constructionism's learning principles are integrated into an engineering prototyping center (EPC) at a large western university. Further, we explore how these principles may support engineering student development within these spaces and identify a qualitative coding scheme for future research. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with faculty, staff, and students involved with the EPC suggests that the construction of physical prototypes within this space allows for the translation of abstract concepts to concrete experiences and the development of iterative design skills. Further, the data suggests that staff play an essential role in creating a learning culture aligned with constructionist learning principles. This culture supports staff in guiding student learning, fostering a collaborative environment, and promoting more » students’ lifelong learning skills. Data collected within this exploratory study suggest that constructionism's learning principles can play a central role in supporting the development of engineering students in an EPC. « less
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1902829
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10319673
Journal Name:
ASEE Annual Conference proceedings
ISSN:
1524-4644
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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