Relationship between self directed learning readiness factors and learning outcomes in third year project-based engineering design course
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Contemporary learning approaches have fewer structured learning activities and more self directed learning tasks guided through consultation with academics and tutors. Such tasks predominately follow a project and/or problem based learning (PBL) mantra where an individual student or a team of students is required to follow a freely guided road map to complete the tasks whilst simultaneously achieving desired learning outcomes for a particular course. However, many students struggle to adjust to such a learning environment where they are being increasingly encouraged to undertake self directed learning (SDL) activities. This paper utilises questionnaire survey approach to evaluate the SDL readiness factors and course learning outcomes for a large class of third year undergraduate civil engineering students at Griffith University, Australia. The results of the study showed that students with a higher grade point average (GPA) also typically had a higher SDL readiness; however learning outcomes achieved by the students from this PBL course were higher for those with a moderate GPA (i.e. 5 or credit average). This suggests that students performing moderately in their former fundamental engineering courses, had higher learning outcomes from this PBL course and higher achievers did not perceive to learn as much. A final overarching finding was that this course provided the necessary skills for students to confidently tackle PBL based courses in the future; undoubtedly the precursor for engineering graduate functions.
21st Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
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Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy