Adapting Experiential Learning to Develop Problem-Solving Skills in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Engineering Students

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Individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions, and this may be due in part to their level of preparation in the development and retention of mathematical and problem-solving skills. An approach was developed that incorporates experiential learning and best practices of STEM instruction to give first-year DHH students enrolled in a postsecondary STEM program the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills in real-world scenarios. Using an industrial engineering laboratory that provides manufacturing and warehousing environments, students were immersed in real-world scenarios in which they worked on teams to address prescribed problems encountered during the activities. The highly structured, Plan-Do-Check-Act approach commonly used in industry was adapted for the DHH student participants to document and communicate the problem-solving steps. Students who experienced the intervention realized a 14.6% improvement in problem-solving proficiency compared with a control group, and this gain was retained at 6 and 12 months, post-intervention.


Copyright 2016 The Authors

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Publication Title

Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

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Marshall, M.M., Carrano, A.L. and Dannels, W. (2016). Adapting experiential learning to develop problem solving skills in deaf and hard of hearing engineering students. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 21(4):403-415. doi:10.1093/deafed/enw050



Peer Reviewed