Remodeling instructional materials for more effective learning in introductory materials classes

Stephen Krause, Jacquelyn E. Kelly, Dale R. Baker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Students have prior knowledge about how the world works, including preconceptions and misconceptions. For more effective learning, instructional materials and activities need to be restructured/remodeled to address misconceptions and knowledge gaps as informed by assessment of prior knowledge. In particular, we have explored and examined materials with regard to topics of anguage and operational definitions, types of graphical representations, real world applications, and explicit discussion of micro-macro scale connections between a material's microstructure and its macroscopic properties. In engineering education, instruction must build on students' knowledge of scientific phenomena and direct it toward its use in engineering applications. In this research, teaching and learning materials and activities have been remodeled by use of feedback from assessment results on a regular basis in order to enhance students' conceptual change for more effective learning. Here, we report on the research question, "How can instructional materials be modified and adjusted to promote conceptual change by using formative and summative assessment in an introductory materials class?" A socio-constructivist pedagogy with learning by conceptual change frames the discussion and analysis of results of this research-to-practice teaching and learning paper. Information from a materials concept inventory (MCI), pre-post topic concept quizzes, team activities, classroom dialogue and homework were used to remodel class notes and activities. To promote conceptual change we use analogical reasoning and cognitive dissonance learning tools that are integrated in class notes and team activities. Incorporating hard data in "explain and predict activities" forces students to address anomalies in their mental models and revise and remodel their conceptual frameworks. We have found increasing gains in pre-post topic concept quizzes and the MCI with remodeled materials. The effect of the approaches applied here to promote more effective conceptual change are discussed in terms of remodeling of instructional materials, activities, and tools in the classroom. Some general approaches to improving student performance are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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