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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