Student Responses to Active Learning Strategies: A Comparison Between Project-Based and Traditional Engineering Programs
Prior research has shown that active learning strategies in engineering education improve student learning, motivation, and retention in STEM disciplines. Yet, instructors are often hesitant to use active learning and other non-lecture strategies due to challenges from students who are resistant to engaging in these methods. Prior research has suggested strategies that can be used to mitigate student resistance to active learning, yet many faculty members have not yet implemented active learning into their engineering education courses. The global demand for entrepreneurially-minded engineers and the rapid growth of engineering programs embracing this mindset increases the need for actionable resources and strategies for faculty to implement in their courses. The program reported here uses active learning across the curriculum, encounters little student resistance, and graduates industry-ready engineers. We report the findings from the Student Resistance to Instructional Practices (StRIP) study focused on students in a specific project-based learning engineering education program, and compare results to non-PBL previous studies. The results indicated that PBL engineering students enjoyed the active learning strategies used by their instructors, and showed less resistance to them. The PBL learners reported less frequent use of non-lecture activities in courses than previous studies. Possible reasons for this result are presented.
Pluskwik, E., & Wang, Y. (2020, June 22-26). Student responses to active-learning strategies: A comparison between project-based and traditional engineering programs [Paper presentation]. 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Online. https://peer.asee.org/35238
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