In an introductory chemical engineering course, the conceptual framework of a holistic problem-solving methodology in conjunction with a problem-based learning approach has been shown to create a learning environment that nurtures deep learning rather than surface learning. Based on exam scores, student grades are either the same or better than the course taught using a lecture-based format. Based on pre- and post-course scores for an in-house concept inventory, average learning gains were within one standard deviation of the average gain reported by Hake for interactive engagement. After nine months, chemical engineering majors essentially retain their knowledge of the concepts. By successfully integrating the major cooperative learning elements discussed in this article, undergraduate engineers will be able to enhance their long-term retention of the fundamental principles for a particular engineering discipline and potentially transfer that knowledge to solve future problems.
Conceptual Framework to Help Promote Retention and Transfer in the Introductory Chemical Engineering Course
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