VISUALIZATION OF MULTIMODAL TRANSPORT PROCESSES BY USING LEGO MINDSTORMS
Whereas transporting goods within multimodal transports especially by using inland vessels is an environmentally friendly way of carrying goods, modal split share is very low.
People working within the logistics industry make transport decisions in favor of familiar opportunities. Thus, one reason for the low share in total transport volume of inland waterway and rail might be the lack of knowledge within logistics students as future decision makers about these eco-friendly means of transport.
More complex logistical planning processes caused by often needed pre- and end- haulage make it even more essential to create a deeper understanding of multimodal transport processes within students and people working in the logistics industry.
The aim of this paper is to describe the conception process of identifying methods and trends to best transmit knowledge on multimodal transport processes and to provide an insight into the practical implementation of the results.
To determine appropriate teaching methods, a comprehensive qualitative desktop research and expert interviews were conducted. The research-based results and the interview evaluation suggest that generating knowledge by providing haptic perception is one promising approach to increase learning achievements. Thus, active learning within a practical industrial environment was chosen to make students aware of eco-friendly transport modes.
In accordance with this outcome a concept was developed to simulate transhipment processes at multimodal terminals by using scale models of the different actors involved.
Within the first implementation phase the appropriate material to construct the scale models had to be found. Among others lego was thereby analysed. A decisive factor for finally choosing lego mindstorms as favourite material was their ease of programming and using. Another key issue within the decision process was that lego enjoys great familiarity and popularity. As a lot of positive childhood memories were associated with it, one main objective thereby was to integrate playful aspects into the learning process. Thus, student’s attention and willingness to learn should be increased.
In a second step a detailed implementation plan was developed. This plan foresees to simulate multimodal transports at a minimized representation of a terminal by using five different lego models – a vessel, a train, a truck, a reach stacker and a crane. In order to ensure a proper operation an automated simulation of the transport processes is planned first. After evaluating functionality, optionally a self-controlled transhipment simulation is possible. To control the models and to provide the students with additional information and summarizing questions tablets were used.
During the entire planning process an IT and programming specialist was integrated to assess technical feasibility. Afterwards he was commissioned for the technical implementation, especially to design and programme the lego mindstorms and the tablets.
The lego simulator is planned to be completed by summer 2014 and will be available for students to visit at the information and training centre Ennshafen.