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Design-Oriented Approach to Learning

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1 Author(s)

This paper describes an instructional method that has been tried with remarkable success in some traditionally theoretical senior-level and graduate courses. The objective of the instructional approach is to enable the students to tackle practical design problems and carry the solution to the stage of prescribing enough details to fabricate the "product" if need be. In class contact the subject material is covered by first describing its typical applications and developing important concepts in the context of the solution of practical problems. The students read on their own the course notes prior to the discussion on each chapter. Because of the tremendous saving of class time normally expended in theoretical derivations, etc., the contact time is utilized in presenting several possible solutions to real life problems and their comparative evaluation. Particularly difficult theoretical concepts are the only ones covered in class, using no more than 10 to 15 percent of the contact time. Because of the applications-oriented nature of the problems, the students consider their learning experience "excellent." The results of anonymous surveys dramatically bear out the student confidence in this approach to learning.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 3 )