Creating Interactive WeB-Based Environments to ScaffoLd Creative Reasoning and MeaningfUL Learning: From Physics to ProdUcts
With the evolution of the surrounding world market, engineers have to propose innovations in products and processes. Industrial innovation frequently results from an improved understanding of basic physics. In this paper, an approach to accelerate inventive preliminary design is presented. This method combines the main advantages of CBR (Case Based Reasoning) and TRIZ (Russian acronym for Theory of Solving Inventive Problem) to transfer physics to industrial technology. Based on this synergy, interactive web-based environments are developed. These systems are intended not only to enhance students to become familiar with basic physics, but also to support students in building meaningful links between basic physics and industrial technologies.
The evaluation was conducted in a “Special Project Design” course requiring students to design a robot that could carry out several functions. Robotics, an interdisciplinary engineering subject, has been a recurring theme in engineering education. Project-based learning provides opportunities for interdisciplinary learning. With project-based learning approaches, planning activities and investigations play a critical role in the project process. Through the web-based environments, students can explore the essence of basic physics, design technologies, and the integration of mechatronics. Further, web-based reasoning and meaningful learning modules are developed to scaffold creative design and to enhance student participation, motivation, and learning effectiveness. Quantitative and qualitative methods such as questionnaires and interviews were used to evaluate the effects of the developed system. Findings showed that inquiry modules were able to facilitate investigation and planning activities in product design stages. The responses obtained were very encouraging. Students in the course were appreciative of these on-going changes and indicated that these were indeed helping them to develop their engineering thinking and design skills, increasing their motivation to study.