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What's New in Research on Teaching and Learning: MECHE Labs @ Rice

  • Center for Teaching Excellence Herring 129 Houston, TX 77005 (map)

Reflection on System Dynamics Principles Improves Student Performance in Labs with the Haptic Paddle

Craig McDonald, Mechanical Engineering
Chad Rose, Mechanical Engineering

Extensive work has been put into the development of simple, low-cost educational tools to improve learning by supplementing curricula with hands-on experiences. Several devices, broadly referred to as haptic paddles, have been developed to combine dynamics and mechatronics lab exercises which culminate in rendering haptic environments.Despite demonstrated student interest in haptic devices, and the foundational role of concrete experience in learning, experimental comparisons of learning outcomes over a broad range of devices have shown mixed results. Our hypothesis is that device design is addressing only a part of the learning cycle, and effort placed in encouraging and mediating a reflection phase will improve student performance. To test this hypothesis, we compared student performance between groups receiving the standard haptic paddle lab curriculum and a curriculum intended to facilitate reflection. The increases in lab scores across multiple student GPA quartiles suggest that even modest curriculum changes designed to encourage reflection can improve student performance.

This lecture is open to all within the Rice community. Pizza will be served.