An investigation into the effectiveness of problem -based learning in an engineering technology program at Nashville State Technical Community College

Innocent Iheanyichukwu Usoh, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of problem-based learning (PBL) as compared to a traditional lecture style. This study focused on: (1) students' understanding of the fundamentals and (2) the application of the fundamental knowledge of an engineering technology course. It was conducted at Nashville State Technical Community College (NSCC). The research is exploratory in nature that involved 38 students in day and evening sections of one course. Independent t-tests were used to compare the mean differences between and among traditional lecture and PBL methods of teaching and learning when dealing with the topics of Ohm's Law, Series and Parallel Circuits, and Logic Gates in the engineering technology course. The mean exam scores from both sections were used. Using the Anderson-Darling Test, all samples of scores compared were normally distributed (p > 0.01 or α = .05). Using the F-test, all sample comparisons had equal variances, indicating that independent t-tests with pooled (equal) variance were appropriate in all cases. The analysis of the data (p = 0.429) did show that the two groups did not differ significantly. This study has shown that PBL teaching style can be effectively used in conjunction with traditional lecture style. Although this study is an exploratory study, limited in scope to one course, the same results may be obtained when applied to other courses. PBL is a viable alternative learning style that can help students through hands on activities, teamwork, real-life scenario problems, and development of more problem solving skills. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Industrial

Recommended Citation

Innocent Iheanyichukwu Usoh, "An investigation into the effectiveness of problem -based learning in an engineering technology program at Nashville State Technical Community College" (2003). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3116157.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3116157

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