Title

Improving Course Comprehension Through Experiential Learning

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

1-1-2009

Abstract

While lectures are the most common way to teach students, they are not necessarily the best way to convey some types of information. Consider the famous quote by Confucius: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

This paper discusses a hands-on experiential learning laboratory, which complements the lecture in a Construction Management (CM) materials and methods course. Many CM programs avoid hands-on experiences due to the vocational/technical stigma. However, experiential learning transforms construction concepts that are often abstract and out of context for many students in an exclusively lecture course into tangible objects and processes. The hands-on laboratory reinforces and supplements material covered in lecture and improves course comprehension by allowing students to learn through discovery. The laboratory aspect of the course also improves leadership, promotes teamwork, and increases student confidence.

This paper discusses specific laboratory experiences used and their educational value, student feedback regarding the experiential labs, and lessons learned for CM programs interested in adding or expanding their hands-on learning experiences for students.