Collaborative Argumentation As A Learning Strategy To Improve Student Performance In Engineering Statics: A Pilot Study

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Timothy L. Foutz

Keywords

Argumentation, Conceptual learning, Statics

Abstract

Educators have used argumentation to help students understand mathematical ideas which often appear abstract to the novice learner.  A preliminary investigation was conducted to determine if collaborative argumentation is a strategy that can improve the student’s conceptual understanding of the topics taught in the engineering course commonly titled Statics.  The academic performance of students enrolled in a traditional problems-solving session was compared to the academic performance of students enrolled in a problem-solving session where collaborative argumentation was used. Results suggest that argumentation improved student performance as measured by grades associated with one-hour long exams, although student written responses on a course evaluation survey responses indicate that students did not believe argumentation was a learning strategy was effective. 

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