Title page for ETD etd-05082012-183206

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Butler, William M
URN etd-05082012-183206
Title The Impact of Simulation-Based Learning in Aircraft Design on Aerospace Student Preparedness for Engineering Practice: A Mixed Methods Approach
Degree PhD
Department Engineering Education
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Goff, Richard M. Committee Chair
Mason, William H. Committee Member
Terpenny, Janis P. Committee Member
Williams, Christopher B. Committee Member
  • aerospace
  • design
  • engineering education
  • simulation
Date of Defense 2012-05-02
Availability unrestricted
It has been said that engineers create that which never was. The university experience is a key component in preparing engineers who support the creation of products and systems that improve the world we live in. The way in which engineers have been trained in universities has changed throughout history in America, moving from an apprentice-like approach to the still-used engineer scientist. Some in industry and academia feel that this model of engineer preparation needs to change in order to better address the complexities of engineering in the 21st century, and help fill a perceived gap between academic preparation and 21st century industrial necessity. A new model for student preparation centering on engineering design called the Live Simulation Based Learning (LSBL) approach is proposed based upon the theories of situated learning, game-based learning, epistemic frames, and accidental competencies. This dissertation discusses the results of a study of the application of LSBL in a two term capstone design class in aerospace engineering aircraft design at Virginia Tech. It includes LSBL’s impact on student professional and technical skills in relation to aerospace engineering design practice. Results indicate that the participants found the LSBL experience to be more engaging than the traditional lecture approach and does help students respond and think more like aerospace engineering practicing professionals and thus begin to address the “gap” between academia and industry.
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