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Exploring the use of 3D simulation-based learning to enhance the motivation of engineering students
Simulation-based learning
self-determination theory
Issue Date: 
Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Education Research Association (APERA) Conference, Singapore, 26-28 November 2008.
Recent advances in technology have introduced new tools to enhance learning, especially in the
context of tertiary education. At the School of Engineering in Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore,
simulation-based learning (SBL) has been used to improve the engagement and motivation of
engineering students in Machining Technology, a sixty hour module for second year
Mechatronics students. This study investigates the effect of SBL on learners' motivation in
practice-based topics, such as turning, milling and sheet metal work, which have heavy reliance
on technical protocols and manipulative skills. It is hypothesized that SBL, which provides
learners with first-hand, interactive learning experiences, will enhance students' motivation in
content-heavy subjects, such as those offered in Engineering. In our investigations, the students
in the Control group received conventional instructions and workshop practice in Machining
Technology, while the Experimental group had conventional instructions, workshop practice and
the benefit of SBL sessions. Both groups were given an equal amount of time on the subject. We
followed a framework based on the self-determination theory (SDT) in our assessment of
students' motivation. A survey was ┬Ěthus conducted with both the Control and Experimental
groups to explore the students' perceptions in domains such as their basic psychological needs
satisfaction, motivational inclination, self-efficacy, self-regulation and outcomes of learning and
involvement. This presentation will highlight interim findings from the survey procedure.
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