Experiential learning of electronics subject matter in middle school robotics courses

  • David Rihtaršič
  • Stanislav Avsec
  • Slavko Kocijancic
Article

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the experiential learning of electronics subject matter is effective in the middle school open learning of robotics. Electronics is often ignored in robotics courses. Since robotics courses are typically comprised of computer-related subjects, and mechanical and electrical engineering, these three areas should be emphasized equally. Many studies reveal impressive learning of computer science and mechanical engineering, but clear evidence of the effectiveness of electronics learning in the higher order thinking skills of middle school students is still lacking. We designed three different robotics courses with electronics subject matter introduced through experiential learning. A parallel group design was used, where three different open learning courses were implemented for middle school students. Based on results of the first and second implementations, we improved students’ learning of relevant content for each successive step of the experiment. In total, 381 middle school students participated in all experiments and were surveyed using pre- and post-tests. The collected data were analyzed using a quantitative research methodology. The findings revealed that the teaching approach was effective. During the learning process, student interest in robotics increased, and overall achievement improved with a medium effect size (η2 = 0.13). The best results for the learning of electronics subject matter were found in the learning process (η2 = 0.44), where experimental sharing of electronics parts was the most evident approach used by the students. Examination of learning material structure in light of the shared electronics subject matter is analyzed and discussed and possible directions for future research are presented.

Keywords

Experiential learning Electronics subject matter in robotics Robotics learning content design Higher order thinking skills 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Rihtaršič
    • 1
  • Stanislav Avsec
    • 1
  • Slavko Kocijancic
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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