Finite element analysis active learning modules embedded throughout a curriculum: Implementation and assessment of results based on student GPA

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Mechanical Engineering

Conference Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Date of Presentation



Commercial finite element packages are widely used in industry thereby making exposure to this tool an essential component of undergraduate engineering education. This paper discusses the development, implementation, and results of integrating active learning modules (ALM's) throughout an engineering curriculum with the goal of providing an effective learning resource that reinforces fundamental, yet challenging, course concepts without requiring knowledge of the rigorous mathematical theory underlying the finite element method. Fifteen ALM's have been implemented into eight courses at six different universities; this paper focuses on four ALM's that have been implemented at the University of the Pacific for several years thereby providing a significant amount of data. Assessment has been done through the use of identical pre- and postALM quizzes and a survey that gathers student information such as GPA, gender and ethnicity. Results indicate that there is a significant increase in student performance after completing the ALM's and there is a more substantial positive impact on students with lower GPA's (< 3.0) than those with higher GPA's (≥ 3.0). These results provide strong evidence that the ALM's designed and implemented during this study result in improved student comprehension of challenging topics while exposing all undergraduate engineering students to the finite element method.


122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society


122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society

This document is currently not available here.