LEARNING, CONSTRUCTIVISM, CONSTRUCTIONISM, AND CCAIML 

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CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

Since the latter part of the twentieth century, numerous studies (for example Ngo and Lai, 2001; Steif and Naples, 2003; Hall, Philpot and Hubing, 2006; Cleghorn and Dhariwal, 2010) have been undertaken to address the various challenges facing the learning of engineering modules. The teaching of these modules has been getting increasingly more difficult due to:

  • the growing number of students from varied cultural backgrounds;
  • the necessity to move away from abstract concepts‟ illustration; and
  • the need for multi-disciplinary teaching, in order to minimize teaching duplication and cost (Dearn, Tsolakis, Magaritis & Walton, 2010).
    However, the quest for effective teaching strategies, which would facilitate learning in engineering classes, remains elusive. This chapter discusses related literature pertaining to the teaching and learning of engineering modules, particularly fluid mechanics, in mechanical engineering classes.
    Kyza, Erduran and Tiberghien (2009) and Barnes (2009) postulate that different kinds of learning goals require different approaches to instruction and no single instructional method will be able to meet the learning needs of the large student numbers found in engineering classes, nowadays. In fact a set of instructional methods should be used and the current study looks into the use of one of those methods. Many studies have presented various instructional approaches, which are deemed good to facilitate learning in engineering classes.
    In order to understand issues pertaining to the use of the instructional method being studied, related literature is being reviewed and has been categorized into:
  • the use of technological aid, and
  • the use of learning theories to facilitate the learning of engineering modules; more particularly in mechanical engineering class.

STUDIES ON INTERVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL AIDS IN LEARNING

In recent years, many engineering instructors have attempted to improve students‟ learning by incorporating computer-based instructions in their classroom teaching (see, for example, Bowe, Jensen, Feland, and Self, 2001; Reamon and Sheppard, 1999; Rhymer, Jensen, and Bowe, 2001; Ngo and Lai, 2001). However, there is evidence that computer-based instructional approaches are both more effective and efficient than conventional instructions (Akst, 1996; Kadiyala and Crynes, 2000).
Steif and Naples (2003) used computer courseware to address the problem of students‟ problem-solving skills. Steif and Naples concluded that in mechanics courses, students must learn to apply fundamental principles to ease understanding, problem solving and design. Hence, problem solving courseware modules were developed to facilitate this process. It is assumed that, by solving a number of similar but non-identical problems, students would be able to elucidate the underlying fundamentals more readily than if an independent method for solving each type of problem is memorized (Chi, Feltovich and Glaser, 1981). The developed courseware CDs were handed to students, who were expected to practice problem solving on their own. The courseware was also made available to students online. According to Steif and Naples (2003), students found the courseware beneficial. Nonetheless, they warned that the courseware alone could not meet the learning needs of all the students.
One of the negatives of traditional teaching and learning is that students are expected to be fed with knowledge, with the supposition that it builds superficial understanding of the required knowledge in them. For example, this is evidence in Taraban et. al., (2004) which shows that, students in most cases, failed to connect the conceptual and procedural knowledge in a way that would lead to deeper understanding. In accordance with this view is Brandt (1993), who has found that students lack the capacity to take the knowledge learnt (fed with) and apply it appropriately in different settings. Thus, the researcher in this study feels that students should not be restricted to memorizing the problem solving procedures alone, but be taken through a learning approach that could help them foster deeper understanding of different engineering modules. Perhaps, a better result would have been obtained if the problem-solving skill concepts in the courseware were animated as in ACIA and the instructional strategy were student-centred as in CCAIML in this study.
However, in large lecture rooms, lecturers find it difficult to attend to the cognitive needs of each student. Learning materials, which can engage learners in new and empowering ways, while accommodating students‟ unique approach to learning, is imperative. Thinking in this direction, Hall, Philpot and Hubing (2006) developed educational software expounding the static, dynamic and mechanic components of materials with the objective that students would use these aids, during private study, to supplement classroom lectures. The project integrated the courseware with an active learning approach. The students were, after using the courseware individually, expected to demonstrate the new knowledge and skills gained from the courseware during lecture and tutorial classes.
Various assessments and evaluations of the study were carried out to measure the impact of this method on learning. According to Hall et al. (2006), the study proved to have impacted positively on the students‟ learning of the designated courses. This motivated the researcher to pursue a similar study in South African universities‟ engineering classes.
Wiske (1994) found that understanding grows through the exchange of ideas in the classroom. The researcher in this study thinks that many lazy students may not even open the courseware CD given to them, not to talk of learning the contents in it. The animation courseware would have been used in the class as proposed in CCAIML learning model, to motivate the students to use the CDs privately.
Hubing et. al. (2002), in search of effective instructional strategies, which can provide solutions to the problems in the learning of engineering modules, considered multimedia instructional aids to facilitate learning in the engineering classroom. The authors introduced the use of computer-based animated interactive learning materials for learning of the mechanics of materials course in mechanical engineering classes. These were introduced as classroom lecture supplements. It features animations, graphics, and interactivity designed to engage and stimulate students, to effectively explain and illustrate course topics as well as to build student problem-solving skills. The authors found that the use of the computer, as a medium for instruction, provides many learning capabilities that cannot be readily duplicated within the traditional lecture format. Computer animation presents engineering course concepts in three dimensional formats, making illustration easier.
In a more recent study on the use of multimedia to facilitate learning, Marek and Aleksander (2005), expounded that the teaching of manufacturing processes in the department of mechanical engineering are very complex and difficult to explain. In this type of situation, where the teaching is impaired, learning becomes almost unattainable. The duo found the use of computer animation and simulation as a teaching aid, a more effective instructional strategy compared to the use of only the traditional teaching approach. They suggested that the lecture duration be reduced and found the students‟ performance improved by about 15%. In addition, they are of the opinion that animation helps to convey the intuition behind the phenomena, by permitting the presentation of complex processes, without the need of mathematical equations.
The studies by Hubing et al. (2002) as well as Marek and Aleksander (2005) are similar in approach. Though concept animation might have helped the students to overcome the abstract learning of the mechanics of materials course presented. Perhaps, the result would have been better, if the learning strategy was presented in a constructionist approach as was done in CCAIML learning model. Papert (1993) suggested that computer instructional aids should be used to support both mental and physical knowledge construction that can be discussed or criticized by colleagues.
Cleghorn and Dhariwal (2010) proposed and tried out the Multimedia Enhanced Electronic Teaching System (MEETS). According to Cleghorn and Dhariwal, MEETS has proved effective in the teaching of large core mechanical engineering undergraduate modules. MEETS uses two high definition document cameras, to project hand written notes, illustrate mechanical drawings as they are created, and demonstrate small mechanical systems. The advantage of this method over the previous traditional teaching and learning approach employed at the university the pair is associated with is that MEETS uses the advantage of a personal computer to facilitate the use of the conventional transparency role.
Comments from some of the students who participated in the study revealed that this instructional approach was preferred, because it assisted with conceptualizing and learning the mechanical engineering core modules with greater ease (Cleghorn and Dhariwal, 2010). The mechanical engineering department of the university, where the study was carried out, has since adopted MEETS as its instructional method for teaching large classes (Cleghorn and Dhariwal, 2010). However, the researcher of this current study is of the opinion that the MEETS project was not fully evaluated. The study should have reported on the empirical facts elucidating to what extent MEETS has impacted students‟ learning, knowledge construction and performance in the examination.
The instructional aids used in the study by Cleghorn & Dhariwal (2010) only help to enlarge the lecturer‟s prepared notes. It facilitated lecturer‟s note copying but not directly learning. A better teaching and learning approach is needed to teach large classes aimed at by Cleghorn and Dhariwal. The CCAIML learning model is structured to meet the leaning needs of both small and large classes.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 
1.1 PREAMBLE
1.2 THE PROBLEM OF THE STUDY
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.4 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS
1.5 STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS
CHAPTER 2 LEARNING, CONSTRUCTIVISM, CONSTRUCTIONISM, AND CCAIML 
2.1 THE CONCEPT OF LEARNING
2.2 CONSTRUCTIVISM
2.3 CONSTRUCTIONISM
2.4 LEARNING,TECHNOLOGY AND INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
2.5 CONSTRUCTIONIST COMPUTER-AIDED-INSTRUCTION MODEL OF LEARNING (CCAIML)
CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF RELATED LITRATURE 
3.1 STUDIES ON INTERVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL AIDS IN LEARNING
3.2 THE USE OF INNOVATIVE LEARNING THEORIES TO FACILITATE LEARNING
CHAPTER 4 METHODOLOGY 
4.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
4.2 SAMPLING
4.3 INSTRUMENTATION
4.4 PILOT STUDY
4.5 DATA COLLECTION
4.6 ETHICAL ISSUES 91
CHAPTER 5 DATA ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION OF RESULTS 
5.1 DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGIES
5.2 PRESENTATION OF RESULTS
Chapter 6 SUMMARY, DISCUSSION, IMPLICATION, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATION 
6.1 SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
6.2 DISCUSSION
6.3 IMPLICATIONS
6.4 LIMITATIONS
6.5 CONCLUSION
6.6 RECOMMENDATION FOR FURTHER STUDIES
REFERENCES
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THE EFFECT OF INTRODUCING ANIMATED COMPUTER INSTRUCTIONAL AID IN THE LEARNING OF FLUID MECHANICS

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