Experiential learning environments for structural behavior
Author(s)Viteri, Victor R. (Victor Raul)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Jerome J. Connor.
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Computers have dramatically changed the nature of structural engineering practice by shifting work from process-oriented tasks, such as performing hand calculations and drafting, to structural modeling and interpretation of computer results. To perform these new functions, engineers need to have a deep understanding of structural behavior. There exists, however, a strong sentiment that engineering education has not been able to effectively address these new needs. Through the Experiential Learning Cycle, this research identifies structural behavior as knowledge associated with conceptual understanding that is most effectively attained through reflective action. Within this context, an epistemological analysis reveals that the use of computer applications that integrate simulation and assessment capabilities would enhance the traditional framework of structural engineering education. The Tutorial Cycle provides the pedagogical foundation for the development of a methodology that leads to the creation of such environments. The principles proposed by this methodology were implemented in the building of an Experiential Learning Environment whose primary objective is to help develop a qualitative understanding for the structural behavior of beams. In order to address conceptual and developmental issues, a preliminary environment, PointLoad, with limited capabilities was first put together. Then, after conducting usability tests on this version, a more comprehensive learning environment was built. The end result, iBeam, combines a Finite Element based interactive simulator with an adaptive assessment and feedback component.(cont.) A programming strategy that combines deterministic programming with rule-based reasoning agents was adopted in the development this environment. Feedback from student trials confirmed that the approach used in iBeam effectively fosters user engagement in reflective action.
Thesis (Ph. D .)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2003.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 182-184).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Civil and Environmental Engineering.