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Facilitating Student Learning & Engagement through ‘Online Flipped Learning’ in Engineering Education
conference contributionposted on 25.03.2022, 08:58 authored by Ching Sze Tey
The current pandemic has changed the way classes are conducted. To ensure that the students’ learning stays uninterrupted in a safe environment, home-based online learning has become the default mode in content delivery for many modules. Instructors grapple with how to effectively engage students via asynchronous and synchronous online delivery. This is especially challenging in engineering education where the content can be very technical and dry with a plethora of theories, concepts, mathematical equations, graphs and diagrams. This study shared the redesign of an engineering module in Microcontroller and Interfacing (MAI) that was previously delivered through face-to-face lectures and hands-on practical sessions. The ‘online flipped learning’ method is adopted with asynchronous online lectures for self-paced learning of theoretical contents, followed with synchronous online sessions to facilitate applications and hands-on learning. The ‘online flipped learning’ follows the same model as the conventional flipped learning that moves most of the teacher-centred instruction out of the classroom to free up time in the classroom for more student-centred learning activities (Lag, 2019), except that the usual face-to-face class is now converted into the virtual class. These self-paced online learning packages were designed with human factors considerations, including user-friendly interface using clear step-by-step learning path, clear learning objectives, bite-sized content, interactive and engaging learning activities. Contents are delivered through recorded videos with lecturer’s presence, demo videos and through a repertoire of interactive activities. A good self-paced learning package that has ‘presence’ is crucial to increase students’ retention rate (Seery et al., 2021). Learning analytics on the self-paced online learning provided information such as how long student spent on certain learning activity, video and quiz performance highlighted the common misconceptions. These useful data informed the planning of the synchronous lessons. Specifically, the synchronous online lessons were designed to address students’ questions and misconceptions identified from self-check quizzes completed in the asynchronous lessons. Furthermore, various active learning activities aimed to enrich and deepen student learning through collaboration, discussion, online simulation and use of online tools and platforms. This presentation will share the students’ perspectives on their learning experience and highlight considerations in designing online flipped learning.
Participants Forty-three Year 2 Diploma in Automation & Mechatronic Systems students took the MAI module in the April 2020 semester. This module aims to equip the students with both theoretical and practical skills in microcontroller applications and interfacing techniques. Data Collection An institutional online module-specific survey was administered to gather students’ feedback on their learning experiences. The survey looked at the learning sentiments, activities and materials.
Results & Discussion
The survey results suggested favourable learning experience with ratings mostly above school average. Most notable, high ratings suggested that the lecturer was accessible to students when they sought guidance for HBL and lecturer gave clear instructions. Furthermore, the lessons stretched students thinking and helped them apply the concepts. Lecturer accessibility might be attributed to the opportunity for students to seek clarifications in synchronous lessons, and lecturer was always available to support the students. The asynchronous lessons included user centric designs, and clear learning outcomes, paths and instructions to facilitate self-paced learning. Synchronous online learning activities provided opportunities for applications and aimed to deepen and stretch students’ thinking. The effectiveness of online flipped learning design demands careful design, development and integration of both self-paced asynchronous and synchronous online lessons, and the use of learning analytics to inform student support and feedback. To successfully implement online flipped learning, the instructor will have to marry the use of both asynchronous lessons with user interactivity for content delivery and synchronous classes for deepening learning, complemented with the use of data for early intervention.