Conclusion and Further Work

Conclusion and Further Work

Manjit Singh Sidhu (Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-764-5.ch012
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Abstract

Mechanical engineering course subjects such as Mechanics Dynamics, combine a mix use of mathematics, schematic diagrams, and text descriptions. Frequently, students are unclear of basic principles of Engineering Mechanics Dynamics, and as such they do not know which mathematical relationships are to be applied in solving a particular problem. Additionally, as the name “dynamics” implies, the very nature of this subject is not “static” and thus requires learners to visualize motion; for example, in a given time period, a particle may be moving in a straight line and after some seconds the particle may experience a curvilinear motion. If the learner fails to see this, the learner will not be able to employ the right equations to solve the problem. As such, an effort was made to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of employing technologies such as multimedia and desktop virtual reality to enhance the problem solving skills and learning of students. In this book, the development of computer-aided learning software termed as technology assisted problem solving (TAPS) packages is demonstrated in Chapter 7. The book provided an overview of developing TAPS packages using multi design approaches. The work is one of the pioneering efforts to address the need for computer based problem solving software packages for the domain of engineering. The development processes of TAPS packages are shown in (Figure 1). More specifically, the conclusions of the study are as follows.
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Conclusion

Mechanical engineering course subjects such as Mechanics Dynamics, combine a mix use of mathematics, schematic diagrams, and text descriptions. Frequently, students are unclear of basic principles of Engineering Mechanics Dynamics, and as such they do not know which mathematical relationships are to be applied in solving a particular problem. Additionally, as the name “dynamics” implies, the very nature of this subject is not “static” and thus requires learners to visualize motion; for example, in a given time period, a particle may be moving in a straight line and after some seconds the particle may experience a curvilinear motion. If the learner fails to see this, the learner will not be able to employ the right equations to solve the problem.

As such, an effort was made to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of employing technologies such as multimedia and desktop virtual reality to enhance the problem solving skills and learning of students.

In this book, the development of computer-aided learning software termed as technology assisted problem solving (TAPS) packages is demonstrated in Chapter 7. The book provided an overview of developing TAPS packages using multi design approaches. The work is one of the pioneering efforts to address the need for computer based problem solving software packages for the domain of engineering. The development processes of TAPS packages are shown in (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Development processes of TAPS packages

More specifically, the conclusions of the study are as follows.

Technologies

The use of multimedia and desktop virtual reality in the development of TAPS packages has helped to address the potential benefits of employing technologies which provide a combination of multimedia and dynamic illustrations in engineering problem solving tasks. The ability of mixing different formats of media for the development of TAPS packages has greatly enhanced the ability to convey engineering concepts and descriptions in a better and simple manner (as stated in Chapter 6). The TAPS packages helped students appreciate the laws of motion i.e. where they apply and where they do not apply and learn problem solving better when the available knowledge is well structured at appropriate levels of detail to meet the needs of learners. Also, complex engineering concepts can be supported by audio to narrate information and videos to explain engineering concepts by the immediate availability of interconnected dynamic presentations. TAPS packages helped in engaging the students to learn problem solving and support conceptualization of the material being presented as compared to the conventional textbook. Multimedia and desktop virtual reality thus has the potential to create high-quality TAPS packages to support and to enhance the learning and problem solving experience as compared to existing engineering packages (Chapter 7 & Chapter 9).

For the learners, enormous interactivity is available at the click of a mouse. This supports the user to navigate freely while interacting with the TAPS package. For the department, while up-front design and development time is usually increased, the technology-enhanced package is easier to update and easier for users to participate in. For both users and faculty, feedback and evaluation can be instant and transparent.

The learning material is more consistent. The use of multimedia shifts the balance in favor of capturing better practice in each area of learning. The best instructor lecture, or the best explanation of how to solve a problem can be recorded, and made available to all present and future users.

The multimedia-based material is richer than that provided through the combination of lectures and textbooks. The multimedia system makes it easy to provide high quality images (rather than slides at lectures), audio (rather than tape-based language laboratories), and video (rather than classroom television). Furthermore, materials can be interacted with repeatedly, rather than the single opportunity of a lecture.

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