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Learning styles and CASE tools in software engineering

Fowler, L., Allen, M., Armarego, J. and Mackenzie, J. (2000) Learning styles and CASE tools in software engineering. In: 9th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 2-4 February 2000, Perth, W.A.

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Software Engineering is a new discipline aimed at the improvement of the production of large, quality software systems. Interest in the adoption of CASE tools has escalated because of the important role they play in supporting the software development process. However, these automated tools are sophisticated and complex. While studies show that CASE tools have a positive impact on quality and productivity, it is also shown that they have been slow to be adopted by industry. This phenomenon is partially explained by the effort in learning to use the tool. Ultimately, knowing the factors that favourably influence the rate of learning will lead to improved approaches to teaching software packages, particularly CASE tools and hence the uptake of these tools within industry. The correlation between learning styles and our methods of teaching CASE tools must be established to investigate where conflicts exist.

This paper discusses an initial study examining the learning styles of engineering students, based on the work of both Kolb and Soloman. This will then be used as a foundation for comparison between student learning styles and use of our CASE tool, Rational Rose. Monitoring online use will be achieved by automated tracing of student navigation within the package.

Our results will be used as a basis to develop an online learning methodology whereby learner characteristics can be used to establish the environment to support the construction of knowledge in our students.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering
Publisher: Curtin University of Technology
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