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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development of the "Structural Concepts Learning Module (SCLM)" Chow, Mabel Leung Wah

Abstract

When drafting their teaching curriculum for structural courses, instructors of civil engineering and architectural courses rely heavily on learning tools as an extra curricular component or accompaniment. These instructors desire tools that are interactive and supported by a computer-based environment. However, despite the large selection of learning tools in the market, there are only a few fulfill these requirements. The "Structural Concepts Learning Module" (SCLM) was created with regard to several critical aspects which must be considered when building a web-based interactive learning tool. The SCLM designer assembled key positive features from existing structural learning tools and developed methodologies to create an educational environment that is able to enhance structural understanding through self-learning as well as sharpen students' autonomy and sense of responsibility in their own learning process. The SCLM was based on three principal elements. Firstly, an educational theory, known as Constructivism, was chosen to be the SCLM development scaffold. The second principal element is comprised of three distinct aspects of learning: interactive, visual, and computer-based learning. Each of these aspects possesses distinct learning objectives that, when connected with the other two, contribute to the module construction. The last principal element is the module content which consists of the fundamental concepts that are taught in structural classes, such as "Engineering Mechanics", "Structural Behaviour", "Structural Systems". When designing SCLM's visual appearance, specific criteria were established in regard to the selection of colours, fonts, and graphics. Two software programs, RoboHelp and Macromedia Flash, were chosen as the main tools to construct the module interface as well as the interactive components. The interface is divided into a certain number of frames and each frame contains elements that assist module users. The interactive teaching components include animation clips, interactive charts, and interactive illustrations, while the interactive practicing components include true or false, multiple choice, fill in the blank, hot object, drag and drop, and hot spot. At present, there was no actual testing done to evaluate SCLM's effectiveness and the module can only run in computers with Windows 95m or more up-to-date versions installed. Nonetheless, there are no limitations for further improving this module.

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