Redesigning a SAD Course to Promote Problem-Based Learning

Redesigning a SAD Course to Promote Problem-Based Learning

Ann M. Quade (Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch217
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This chapter reports on the design, development, and implementation of a hybrid introductory systems analysis and design (SAD) semester long course taught at the junior/senior level. Five online instructional modules that focus on student-centered, problem-based learning (PBL) were developed. Each module parallels and reinforces the classroom session content. The classroom “seat-time” saved by having students study and complete online materials provides the instructor and students with additional time for face-to-face and electronic discussions. To further encourage PBL throughout the semester, students use an iterative approach to the SAD life cycle to analyze, design, and implement a prototypic solution to a real world problem presented by the authentic client. The use of a learning management system allows the client to participate in the course throughout the semester regardless of the physical distance between the students and the client. Instructor experiences, hybrid module development strategies, and a summary of student and client feedback are included.
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Theoretical Framework

The theory that learning occurs most effectively in authentic setting is not new. Hendricks (2001) stated that complex social interactions are at the heart of learning. Brown, Collins, and Duguid (1989) more precisely defined this thinking through their belief that individuals’ interactions with their social teams lead to their adoption of learned behaviors. This phenomenon, which Hendricks called situated cognition, is different from practices in traditional educational settings. There is ample research to substantiate that social interactions are important for accomplishing challenging learning tasks. Bandura (1977), Vygotsky (1978), and Scaife and Bruner (1975) found that observation of and assistance from others at times precedes and always interacts with human cognitive development. Bandura (p.12) highlights the importance of “symbolic, vicarious, and self-regulatory” processes in social learning. As compared to a psychological view where learning is a matter of an individual “performing responses and experiencing their effects.” Bandura elaborates on his theory that learning is a social process, explaining that we learn everything vicariously before we learn it directly because it is the only way we can “acquire large, integrated patterns of behavior without having to form them tediously by trial and error. The harder the task to be learned, the more we must learn it through observation first.

Hendricks (2001) found evidence to support the idea that practices based on situated cognitive theory can have significant impacts on immediate learning. Klopfer et al. (2004) focused on the use of technology to facilitate situated learning environments—particularly through the use of handheld and wearable computing devices. Through the use of participatory simulations they found that students were more motivated, engaged, and excited by the process of participatory learning than they are by more traditional means of learning.

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