Previous research has suggested that the use of more authentic learning activities can produce more robust and durable knowledge gains. This is consistent with calls within civil engineering education, specifically hydrology, that suggest that curricula should more often include professional perspective and data analysis skills to better develop the "T-shaped" knowledge profile of a professional hydrologist (i.e., professional breadth combined with technical depth). It was expected that the inclusion of a data-driven simulation lab exercise that was contextualized within a real-world situation and more consistent with the job duties of a professional in the field, would provide enhanced learning and appreciation of job duties beyond more conventional paper-and-pencil exercises in a lower-division undergraduate course. Results indicate that while students learned in both conditions, learning was enhanced for the data-driven simulation group in nearly every content area. This pattern of results suggests that the use of data-driven modeling and visualization activities can have a significant positive impact on instruction. This increase in learning likely facilitates the development of student perspective and conceptual mastery, enabling students to make better choices about their studies, while also better preparing them for work as a professional in the field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)