HANDS-ON LABORATORIES IN ENGINEERING: ROBOTICS AND ELECTRONICS CASE
Circuits design with electronics elements, such as transistors, diodes, capacitors and resistors are essential for developing electronics projects. It´s common that the engineering program offer courses focused on the analog and digital circuits design. Assessment as learning focuses on own knowledge of the students, where this learning process will be evaluated in subsequent years. Laboratories have a crucial role in the education of future engineers, but there is a disagreement among educators about which types of labs technology must be used. Advocates of real and experimental laboratories always have argued that engineering students need to be exposed to learning situations in real environments. Students need to have contact with the devices and measuring equipment, just as laboratories should include the possibility to unexpected data appear as a result of noise or other uncontrolled real variables. Supporters of the simulation indicate the often high cost of physical laboratories, indicating that the simulations are not only cheaper but in most occasions also more accurate than the measurements obtained by the students in the labs. The arguments on both sides are well presented. It should be mentioned that among the student preferences emphasizes the simulation format. Applications focused in learning by-doing or hands-on laboratory allow to speed-up the learning process; this facilitates the design and implementation of active strategies in the classroom. Learning by-doing is a very effective idea for students to acquire knowledge, if they are well motivated. Low cost educational kit and multimedia elements not only intensify the hands-on laboratory experiences, but also help motivate to the student to learn an active and fun way.
Hands-on experience has proven to be a very effective way to motivate electrical and electronics engineering students to study basics courses. Thus hands-on laboratory together with challenge problems constitute educational strategies that develop an active and collaborative learning focused on real and experimental approach. This paper discusses the learning assessment conducted in that implementation. With the practical learning there develops the ability to design and applied knowledge, which is difficult to obtain otherwise. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that type de hands-on activities are important in educational context for subjects like physics and engineering. The main objective is to keep emphasis on practical skills and also it is to interest students in technology through active experimentation in the robotics and electronics disciplines to motivate them. The interaction with such a diversity of scientific disciplines also helps the students with their future professional orientation. With hands-on learning comes design instinct and applied knowledge that it´s hard to get any other way. The majority of the students agreed that they were motivated to learn the skills, competences and theories shown; in general were satisfied with the laboratory organization.
Student satisfaction with the hands-on learning was checked through a questionnaire, which were included questions and aspects related to development hands-on labs. The purpose was to determine whether or not the hands-on laboratory had helped the students to improve their understanding and knowledge of the devices, element and measurements developed during their stay in the laboratory.