Experience with Mastery Learning in Engineering Courses
As previously reported, mastery learning has been used by the author to provide instruction to more than 750 students in a total of 24 separate offerings of five different semester-long courses. In prior publications, the results of anonymous student feedback collected at the end of the semester have been reported, including: quantitative results of Likert-scale responses to five common questions; and representative comments to open-ended questions. These prior results suggest that at least two responses are predominant, namely: 1) rejection of mastery learning as "unfamiliar"/"unfair", or "lazy on the part of the professor"; or 2) welcoming of mastery learning as "empowering", or "an opportunity for self-ownership of learning on the part of the student". To improve our understanding of the attitudes of students towards mastery learning, a qualitative approach was employed in the current study. Through discussions with experts in qualitative methods, a structured interview guide was constructed by the author and included questions about: 1) "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education"; 2) "Principles of Adult Learning"; and 3) ABET student outcomes. The structured interview guide also included an opportunity for free response to open-ended queries about flipped classroom, blended delivery, modified mastery learning, and flexible summative assessment. Experts in qualitative methods recommended an initial pilot study with a population of ten students. These ten alumni were selected from a subpopulation of the 750 students who previously completed at least one course employing mastery learning. The subpopulation was identified as individuals who earned a grade of "A" in a course with mastery learning and subsequently completed a semester-long course of "Independent research" with the author. The subpopulation included approximately 50 individuals students. Ten random individuals were selected from this subpopulation, contacted via email and follow-up telephone call, and invited to voluntarily participate in a one-on-one structured interview with the author. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for themes by two individuals. The summary results of thematic analysis from these structured interviews are reported as a preliminary pilot study. In brief, these ten alumni provided a favorable view of mastery learning, and the results of this pilot study suggest that the structured interview guide is an appropriate starting-point for a more robust qualitative study employing a more formal approach such as interpretative phenomenological analysis or narrative discourse analysis.
D. B. Oerther, "Experience with Mastery Learning in Engineering Courses," Proceedings of the 126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2019, Tampa, FL), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Jun 2019.
126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 (2019, Jun. 15-19, Tampa, FL)
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Article - Conference proceedings
© 2019 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.
01 Jun 2019