Learning Theories: Applications for Instruction in Constraint-Based Solid Modeling and Other Engineering Graphics Topics


  • Nathan W. Hartman Purdue University
  • Theodore J. Branoff North Carolina State University


Constraint-based modeling tools, as well as computer graphics tools in general, offer the user many choices in commands and techniques for creating graphics, which forces the user to have a strategy or plan as they proceed. The formulation of this plan is often dependent on the integration of existing knowledge and current factors, such as customer specifications and the time element assigned to the particular project. In addition, the user must have a thorough understanding of the software functionality and the ability to gather information related to implementing a particular modeling strategy. This process of strategy development and implementation coincides with components of learning theory. As engineering graphics educators, it is helpful to reflect on how students learn in our classrooms and laboratories as well as reflect on how we develop instruction. This paper outlines three theories of learning that are applicable to graphics education, discusses the assumptions about the learner and the learning environment, presents the components of learning for each theory, discusses major issues related to complex learning and designing instruction, and summarizes some of the criticisms and contributions to education of each theory. Indeed, a process is presented for applying elements of these learning theories to constraint-based modeling.



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