We propose and assess the effectiveness of novel immersive simulation-based learning (ISBL) modules for teaching and learning engineering economy concepts. The proposed intervention involves technology-enhanced problem-based learning where the problem context is represented via a three-dimensional (3D), animated discrete-event simulation model that resembles a real-world system or situation that students may encounter in future professional settings. Students can navigate the simulated environment in both low- and high-immersion modes (i.e., on a typical personal computer or via a virtual reality headset). The simulation helps contextualize and visualize the problem setting, allowing students to observe and understand the underlying dynamics, collect relevant data/information, evaluate the effect of changes on the system, and learn by doing. The proposed ISBL approach is supported by multiple pedagogical and psychological theories, namely the information processing approach to learning theory, constructivism theory, self-determination theory, and adult learning theory. We design and implement a set of ISBL modules in an introductory undergraduate engineering economy class. The research experiments involve two groups of students: a control group and an intervention group. Students in the control group complete a set of traditional assignments, while the intervention group uses ISBL modules. We use well-established survey instruments to collect data on demographics, prior preparation, motivation, experiential learning, engineering identity, and self-assessment of learning objectives based on Bloom’s taxonomy. Statistical analysis of the results suggests that ISBL enhances certain dimensions related to motivation and experiential learning, namely relevance, confidence, and utility. We also provide a qualitative assessment of the proposed intervention based on detailed, one-on-one user testing and evaluation interviews.
There is a cohesive body of research on the effectiveness of problem-based learning (PBL) for a wide range of learner groups across different disciplines in engineering education. On the other hand, there is a growing interest in using immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) in engineering education. While there are many literature review articles on each of these subjects separately, there is a lack of review articles on the application of combined PBL-VR learning environments in engineering education. This paper provides an assessment of the applications and potential of implementing immersive technologies in a PBL setting to utilize the advantages of both paradigms. More specifically, this paper aims to provide insights related to two main questions: (1) where (in what disciplines/subjects) PBL and VR have been used together in engineering education? And, (2) how are VR and PBL integrated and used in engineering education? The first question is investigated by performing a bibliometric analysis of relevant papers published in the proceedings of previous ASEE annual conferences. The second question is explored by performing a literature review and classification of ASEE papers that discuss the use of VR in conjunction with PBL. Our findings reveal a gap between the application of integrated PBL and VR across different disciplines in engineering education. We also analyze the trends related to PBL and VR application in engineering education over time. Finally, we identify and propose future opportunities related to the combination of PBL and immersive technologies, including but not limited to immersive simulation-based learning (ISBL) and incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into immersive virtual/simulated learning environments used in engineering education.
This paper presents novel immersive simulation-based learning (I-SBL) modules as an alternative active-learning method for teaching and learning fundamental concepts related to database de-sign. I-SBL involves a 3-dimensional simulated environment that resembles a real-world system.Students can navigate through the simulated environment (in low- and high-immersion modes),observe and understand the underlying dynamics, evaluate the effect of the changes on the system,and learn by doing. The use of such modules is especially important when access to the real system is limited or impossible due to geographical barriers and/or regulations and safety considerations.We assess the impact of the proposed approach by implementing a sample I-SBL module in an undergraduate database class. The study involves two groups of students: control and test groups.Students in the control group complete a traditional problem-based learning (PBL) assignment,while the test group uses the I-SBL version of the same assignment. The assessment data collected include demographics, prior preparation, motivation, usability tests, and pre/post quizzes to mea-sure knowledge gain. Statistical analysis of the results suggests that I-SBL performs at least as wellas PBL. The results also provide important insights into the effective design and implementation of I-SBL.
The problem of improving the environmental performance of a supply chain without entailing excessive cost is becoming a frequent problem as
companies face an increasing pressure from governments and customers for reducing the environmental impact of their activities. As the environmental improvement of an operating supply chain implies not only technology upgrading decisions, but also decisions regarding the structure of the supply chain itself; deciding on what strategy to follow is a complex task. The aim of this work is to provide a bi- objective solution approach for finding such strategy so that both the environmental and financial goals are best met.