Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The use of a game-based project in engineering education: An examination of the academic learning, engagement and motivation of first-year engineering students
by Fang, Jun, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2012, 190; 3556199
Abstract (Summary)

Two critical issues are of great concern in engineering education today: the increasingly broad requirements for 21st-century engineers and the lack of effective instructional approaches needed to produce students who meet the requirements. However, pedagogical approaches in engineering have remained relatively unchanged for the last 40 years and less effort has been placed on implementing instructional approaches needed to achieve the desired learning outcomes in engineering education. This study proposed an instructional approach that combined project- and game-based learning, using a sustainable/Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) game-based project in first-year engineering education. This approach combined features of both GBL (motivation, engagement and learning through doing) and PBL (accumulating professional skills through real-world projects). A concurrent transformative mixed-method approach was utilized in this study to investigate (1) the changes in students' knowledge of sustainable development and their perceptions of their professional skill development following completion of the project; and (2) how students' perceptions of their motivation and engagement in the project were related to those changes. This study involved 240 first-year engineering students from two of the sixteen sections of an ENGR 131 course at a large Midwestern university. The findings revealed that students had a positive learning experience in the sustainability game project and the instructional approach of combining project- and game-based learning was an effective approach for teaching engineering content knowledge, improving students' professional skill development, and enhancing their learning motivation. Students' perceptions of their engagement decreased after the project and multiple reasons (e.g., low academic expectations) were identified for the decrease. This study provided evidence that this instructional approach was effective in engineering education and helped address the issues facing engineering education and educators today.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watson, William R.
Commitee: Ertmer, Peggy A., Schultz, Geoffrey F., Strobel, Johannes
School: Purdue University
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational technology, Higher education, Vocational education
Keywords: Engagement, Engineering education, Game-based learning, Instructional technology, Motivation, Project-based learning
Publication Number: 3556199
ISBN: 978-1-267-97993-3
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