Published in 120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings: Atlanta, GA, June 23, 2013.
The Architectural Engineering Department at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) teaches introductory sophomore level statics and mechanics of materials courses to students in three departments in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. These courses are unique in that students in the Architectural Engineering Department share coursework with students in the Architecture and Construction Management Departments. While learning and problem solving in these multidisciplinary courses have many advantages, they also offer many challenges. The learning preference of the students in these three distinctly different disciplines requires a fresh approach to the course structure. The courses were reimagined in 2005 to improve the learning and subsequent passing rates of Construction Management and Architecture students. Currently the structure of the courses utilizes a traditional lecture format coupled with hands-on activities. These lecture and activity components have been developed to embrace various learning preferences in conjunction with active learning.
This paper examines the learning preferences of current students spread across the three different disciplines and compares the preferences to the delivery methods used in the courses. Over a period of three years, surveys have been taken to determine the mix of learning style preferences within the courses. The surveys have shown that the majority of the students in each discipline have a preference for the same two learning styles preferences; Visual and Kinesthetic. Yet these two predominate preferences are a mismatch with traditional teaching styles. This paper compares the preferred learning styles of the three separate majors enrolled in these courses and investigates correlations with existing instruction delivery modes. Conclusions have been made and suggestions offered for other institutions to improve course delivery and through these avenues improve learning for all students.
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