The Power of Pull in Engineering Student Learning

Publisher:
Dublin Institute of Technology, Tempus Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
International Journal of Engineering Education, 2012, 28 (4), pp. 920 - 931
Issue Date:
2012-01
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Biggs' Study Process Questionnaire is used to measure the constructive alignment of student choice with deep and shallow approaches to learning in established undergraduate and postgraduate engineering subjects designed for pull-learning, in contrast to push-teaching. Dividend output factors of increased student marks are established for a deep approach to learning and the inverse of a Shallow Approach to learning. Empirical Bayesian analysis comprising Exploratory Factor Analysis and Bayesian Confirmatory Strategies is used to deeply mine and draw inferences from relatively small sample sizes. This research confirms Biggs' suggestion that the tendency of education to erode towards Shallow Learning may be addressed through curriculum design that constructively aligns student choices with deep engagement. Students in subjects designed for pull-learning do appreciate the constructive alignment of their choices with deep engagement. Furthermore, there is a dividend payoff in marks for both deep engagement and the opposite of shallow engagement. The findings provide considerable optimism for the development of pull-learning techniques to increase the generic work-ready skills of graduate engineering students.
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