Optimizing National Dissemination and Use of Low-Cost Desktop Learning Modules

Primary author: Katelyn Dahlke
Co-author(s): Bernard Van Wie; Prashanta Dutta; Jacqueline Gartner; Olusola Adesope; David Thiessen; Olivia Reynolds; Kitana Kaiphanliam
Faculty sponsor: Bernie Van Wie

Primary college/unit: Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
Campus: Pullman


Low-Cost Desktop Learning Modules (LC-DLMs) are hands-on modules developed at Washington State University that are used in conjunction with traditional sophomore and junior level engineering lectures. These modules allow students to see for themselves the real-world implications of the concepts and theories that they are learning in class. Prior work at WSU has demonstrated that LC-DLMs are effective at increasing students’ understanding of the concepts. We have taken steps to expand the use of these LC-DLMs to other universities and have developed a combination of technological tools and a national “hub and spoke” method in order to facilitate the use of these DLMs at other institutions. Hub coordinators attended the first dissemination workshop at WSU in spring 2019 and will use the training and information they received to advance LC-DLM use at their home institutions. At least one workshop will be held each year at a different “hub” institution, where individuals from “spoke” institutions will learn how to use LC-DLMs effectively in their classroom from hub coordinators and representatives from WSU. Feedback from workshop participants, including the need for clear step-by-step instructions and different strategies for developing a control group, are used to improve future workshops. This information can also be used to assist other faculty in developing parallel strategies for propagating the use of new instructional approaches. This method, combined with a comprehensive webpage that includes video demonstrations, worksheets, assessments, and frequently asked questions, will continue to help to stimulate implementation of LC-DLMs and minimize potential barriers to adoption.