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Using developmental principles to plan design experiences for beginning engineering students

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5 Author(s)

Experiments with a variety of teaching techniques to improve meaningful learning often are often only partially successful, leaving many students struggling with the abstract and complex knowledge of the engineering disciplines. The authors hypothesize that decisions about appropriate teaching methods are best made by considering the development of students' intellectual complexity using the "crux developmental model" (CDM) synthesized from a number of disparate theories in the educational, developmental and complexity literatures. The CDM and its application were assessed and improved over a three-year cycle in the context of a science and engineering camp for teenagers. Their results supported the hypothesis that the CDM: (1) provides a rational method of selecting developmentally appropriate activities to teach specific skills and content; and (2) provides a tool for customizing learning activities to maximize growth. According to the developmental model, the teenage participants in camp are working at the beginning of the same developmental transition that undergraduates are completing. Thus, they conclude this paper by proposing how the results of this study can be generalized to the undergraduate experience

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Frontiers in Education Conference, 2001. 31st Annual  (Volume:1 )

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