Analyzing the Effects of Desktop Learning Modules (DLMs) on Student Understanding of the Bernoulli Equation and Mass and Energy Balances

The use of alternative methods to aid in student learning of engineering concepts has been explored for the past several decades. One of the most common methods to supplement lecture material is hands-on learning. The desktop learning modules (DLMs), formulated by Dr. Bernard Van Wie’s group from Washington State University, are hands-on apparatuses that supplement lecture material and assist student learning of a variety of engineering concepts. To determine the effectiveness of these DLMs, a Venturi module was tested on a group of forty-eight engineering students at the University of Kentucky. The students were split into two groups: the controlled group and the variable group. To begin the study, both groups were given an articulated pre-test to determine their current knowledge of the Bernoulli equation and mass and energy balances. From there, the controlled group proceeded with a typical in-class lecture. The variable group, on the other hand, filled out a worksheet while running various mini-experiments on the Venturi DLM. These two groups were then given the same post-test on mass and energy balance material. The post-test consisted of a mix of multiple choice questions and justification boxes. The justifications allow for a more psychological assessment of the students thought processes. This study will numerically compare the effectiveness of the DLMs on student understanding by using pre- and post-test data and analyze common misconceptions of mass and energy balances based off of the student answer justifications.

Keywords: hands-on learning; collaborative learning; direct learning methods; alternative learning methods; Bernoulli equation; mass and energy balances