Engineering and Science Instructors' Intended Learning Outcomes with Computational Simulations as Learning Tools

By Alejandra J. Magana

Purdue University

Published on


This presentation describes the results of a study aiming to identify how 14 instructors incorporated into their classrooms computational simulations as learning tools. The study was based on the following research question: What were the intended learning outcomes that guided the instructors' use of computational simulations as learning tools? This study used Open-ended interviews as the data collection method and phenomenographic approaches to conduct the data analysis. The results of this study outlined an outcome space describing eight different forms in which professors incorporated these tools into their teaching.

The results of this study could serve toward the development of: (i) a common language about learning goals to facilitate communication across persons, subject matter, and grade levels; (ii) a basis for determining congruent educational objectives, activities, and assessments in a unit, course, or curriculum; and (iii) a panorama of the range of educational possibilities against which the limited breadth and depth that any particular computational simulation could provide as teaching or learning tool.


Alejandra Magana, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University West Lafayette. Magana's research interests are centered on the integration of cyberinfrastructure and computational tools and methods to: (a) leverage the understanding of complex phenomena in science and engineering and (b) support scientific inquiry learning and innovation. Specific efforts focus on studying cyberinfrastructure affordances and identifying how to incorporate advances from the learning sciences into authoring curriculum, assessment, and learning materials to appropriately support learning processes.

Sponsored by

US National Science Foundation for the funding support through the NCN with the award EEC-0634750


Magana, A.J., Brophy, S.P. and Bodner, G.M. (2012). Instructors Intended Learning Outcomes for Using Computational Simulations as Learning Tools. Journal of Engineering Education. 101(2). 220-243

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Alejandra J. Magana (2013), "Engineering and Science Instructors' Intended Learning Outcomes with Computational Simulations as Learning Tools,"

    BibTex | EndNote