Research Papers

A New Approach to Teaching Biomechanics Through Active, Adaptive, and Experiential Learning

[+] Author and Article Information
Anita Singh

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Widener University,
17 and Walnut Street, KH269 C,
Chester, PA 19013
e-mail: asingh2@mail.widener.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received February 16, 2017; final manuscript received April 25, 2017; published online June 6, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Kristen Billiar.

J Biomech Eng 139(7), 071001 (Jun 06, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: BIO-17-1065; doi: 10.1115/1.4036604 History: Received February 16, 2017; Revised April 25, 2017

Demand of biomedical engineers continues to rise to meet the needs of healthcare industry. Current training of bioengineers follows the traditional and dominant model of theory-focused curricula. However, the unmet needs of the healthcare industry warrant newer skill sets in these engineers. Translational training strategies such as solving real world problems through active, adaptive, and experiential learning hold promise. In this paper, we report our findings of adding a real-world 4-week problem-based learning unit into a biomechanics capstone course for engineering students. Surveys assessed student perceptions of the activity and learning experience. While students, across three cohorts, felt challenged to solve a real-world problem identified during the simulation lab visit, they felt more confident in utilizing knowledge learned in the biomechanics course and self-directed research. Instructor evaluations indicated that the active and experiential learning approach fostered their technical knowledge and life-long learning skills while exposing them to the components of adaptive learning and innovation.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2015, “ Occupational Outlook Handbook,” U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC, accessed Jan. 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/biomedical-engineers.html
Howe, S. , 2010, “ Where Are We Now? Statistics on Capstone Courses Nationwide,” Adv. Eng. Educ., 2(1), p. EJ1076085.
Harris, T. R. , and Brophy, S. P. , 2005, “ Challenge-Based Instruction in Biomedical Engineering: A Scalable Method to Increase the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Teaching and Learning in Biomedical Engineering,” Med. Eng. Phys., 27(7), pp. 617–624. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Prince, M. J. , and Felder, R. M. , 2006, “ Inductive Teaching and Learning Methods: Definitions, Comparisons, and Research Bases,” J. Eng. Educ., 95(2), pp. 123–138. [CrossRef]
Terezini, P. T. , Cabrera, A. F. , Colbeck, C. L. , and Bjorklund, S. A. , 2001, “ Collaborative Learning vs. Lecture/Discussion: Students’ Reported Learning Gains,” J. Eng. Educ., 90(1), pp. 123–129. [CrossRef]
Clough, M. P. , and Kaufmann, K. J. , 1999, “ Improving Engineering Education: A Research-Based Framework for Teaching,” J. Eng. Educ., 88(4), pp. 527–534. [CrossRef]
de Jong, T. , 2006, “ Computer Simulations: Technological Advances in Inquiry Learning,” Science, 312(5773), pp. 532–533. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Dochy, F. , Segersb, M. , Van den Bosscheb, P. , and Gijbels, D. , 2003, “ Effects of Problem-Based Learning: A Meta-Analysis,” Learn. Instr., 13(5), pp. 533–568. [CrossRef]
Albanese, M. A. , and Mitchell, S. , 1993, “ Problem-Based Learning: A Review of Literature on Its Outcomes and Implementation Issues,” Acad. Med., 68(1), pp. 52–81. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Roselli, R. J. , and Brophy, S. P. , 2006, “ Experiences With Formative Assessment in Engineering Classrooms,” J. Eng. Educ., 95(4), pp. 311–324. [CrossRef]
DiCecco, J. , Wu, J. , Kuwasawa, K. , and Sun, Y. , 2007, “ A Novel Approach to Physiology Education for Biomedical Engineering Students,” Adv. Physiol. Educ., 31(1), pp. 45–50. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Martin, T. , Rivale, S. D. , and Diller, K. R. , 2007, “ Comparison of Student Learning in Challenge-Based and Traditional Instruction in Biomedical Engineering,” Ann. Biomed. Eng., 35(8), pp. 1312–1323. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Harris, T. R. , Bransford, J. D. , and Brophy, S. P. , 2002, “ Roles for Learning Sciences and Learning Technologies in Biomedical Engineering Education: A Review of Recent Advances,” Annu. Rev. Biomed. Eng., 4(1), pp. 29–48. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Bransford, J. D. , Brown, A. L. , and Cocking, R. R. (eds.), 2000, How People Learn: MindBrain, Experience, and School, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, p. 319.
Anderson, J. R. , 1982, “ Acquisition of Cognitive Skill,” Psychol. Rev., 89(4), pp. 369–406. [CrossRef]
Chi, M. T. H. , Feltovich, P. J. , and Glaser, R. , 1981, “ Categorization and Representation of Physics Problems by Experts and Novices,” Cognit. Sci., 5(2), pp. 121–152. [CrossRef]
Clough, G. , 2005, Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
Schwartz, D. L. , Bransford, J. D. , and Sears, D. , 2005, “ Innovation and Efficiency in Learning and Transfer,” Transfer of Learning From a Modern Multidisciplinary Perspective, J. Mestre , ed., Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 1–51.
Carlson, M. P. , and Bloom, I. , 2005, “ The Cyclic Nature of Problem Solving: An Emergent Multidimensional Problem-Solving Framework,” Educ. Stud. Math., 58(1), pp. 45–75. [CrossRef]
Schunn, C. D. , and Anderson, J. R. , 1999, “ The Generality/Specificity of Expertise in Scientific Reasoning,” Cognit. Sci., 23(3), pp. 337–370. [CrossRef]
Schoenfeld, A. H. , 1989, “ Explorations of Students’ Mathematical Beliefs and Behavior,” J. Res. Math. Educ., 20(4), pp. 338–355. [CrossRef]
Wineburg, S. , 1998, “ Reading Abraham Lincoln: An Expert/Expert Study in the Interpretation of Historical Texts,” Cognit. Sci., 22(3), pp. 319–346. [CrossRef]
McPherson, M. N. , and Guthrie, B. M. , 1991, “ The Implementation and Evaluation of a Computer Assisted Learning Program in Undergraduate Biomechanics,” Teaching Kinesiology and Biomechanics in Sports, J. D. Wilkerson , E. Kreighbaum , and C. Tant , eds., pp. 73–76.
Knudson, D. , Bauer, J. , and Bahamonde, R. , 2009, “ Correlates of Learning in Introductory Biomechanics,” Perceptual Motor Skills, 108(2), pp. 499–504. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Hsieh, C. , and Knudson, D. , 2008, “ Student Factors Related to Learning in Biomechanics,” Sports Biomech., 7(3), pp. 398–402. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Hsieh, C. , Smith, J. D. , Bohne, M. , and Knudson, D. , 2010, “ Factors Related to Students’ Learning of Biomechanics Concepts,” J. Coll. Sci. Teach., 41(1), pp. 83–89.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Project-based learning approach to integrate clinical immersion (adaptability) and problem identification and solution phase (innovation) to meet the course objectives and outcomes

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Clinical immersion at Center for Simulation and Computerized Testing for problem identification

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Student Survey data from the three cohorts of the biomechanics course that utilized project-based learning approach

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

External reviewer and course instructor’s average scores for all students from the three cohorts. A target value of above 80 for at least 75% of the students enrolled in each cohort was set as success rate.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Course instructor’s scores based on the technical report submitted by each student from the three cohorts. A target value of above 7.5 for at least 75% of students enrolled in each cohort was set as success rate.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Peer evaluation scores of each student from the three cohorts obtained from team members perception of student contribution to the project



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In