Use of Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning for Introduction to Materials

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Conference Proceeding

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Active learning approaches are being used more extensively in engineering education as the literature base on their effectiveness continues to grow.1-12 In addition to the empirical research showing improvement on various learning outcomes, the use of active learning is also supported by cognitive models of learning.12,13 The key point to note about these models is that information is actively manipulated in the mind of the learner within the context of the existing structure of the learner’s long-term memory. The learner has essentially three options: 1) The information can be accommodated into the existing structure. The traditional lecture approach assumes that this always occurs; 2) The new information does not fit into the existing structure, and a state of disequilibrium occurs. At this point the structure of long-term memory needs to be changed to accommodate the new information, or 3) The new information is rejected and long-term memory is left unchanged. As an example, Lawson describes the process by which Darwin developed the theory of evolution.14 Observations during his voyage to the Galapagos conflicted with his view of a Creator, leaving him in a state of disequilibrium. In order to resolve this conflict, he developed the theory of evolution.

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