Penn State Great Valley Professor Demonstrates Immersive Learning Modules at University Park

Image of Ashkan Negahban, far left, via Penn State Great Valley.

When Penn State’s newly established Center for Immersive Experiences (CIE) recently hosted an immersive technology open house at the University Park campus, Penn State Great Valley had a strong presence, with Ashkan Negahban, assistant professor of engineering management, and his research team demonstrating their immersive simulation-based learning (I-SBL) approach.

Negahban’s project focuses on transforming online and on-campus education through immersive learning modules and brings together researchers from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College; Penn State Abington; and Penn State World Campus. The modules create a digital solution for problem-based learning, a pedagogical approach that immerses students in a real-world situation.

“We mimic a real system by developing a simulation model,” Negahban said. “We have a computerized model of a manufacturing system, for example, where there are machines, parts flow, people walking around. We then develop a problem description around that simulation that mimics a problem that a real-world manufacturing facility may face. Students will observe the simulation model, collect data, perform their analysis, and make recommendations for improvement, as they would do when solving the real-world problem. This will better prepare our students for solving problems encountered at future workplace.”

Applying a problem-based learning approach for engineering and STEM education can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but the I-SBL approach eliminates those barriers. The project is funded by the University Strategic Initiative Seed Grants program as part of Penn State’s strategic initiative to transforming education.

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