S4-DISC3-2 - Construction students’ confidence in their abilities to visualize construction methods

2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
Sara Gusmao Brissi1 , Luciana De Cresce El Debs1, Mark Zimpfer1
1 School of Construction Management Technology - Purdue Univesity

Students learn and study in different ways, depending on their personality types. As a result, a significant number of learning style models have emerged to enhance the learning process. Previous research on construction management undergraduate students’ learning styles in the United States revealed that they are visual, active, sensing, and sequential learners. This information is vital to guide instructors’ teaching methods. Expanding on the visual aspect of learning, the goal of this study, presented here as a full paper, is to understand how confident undergraduate construction management students are with regard to their abilities to visualize construction methods necessary to build a structure based on information they read in plans and specifications and which topics they have most difficulties in visualizing. The researchers also analyzed potential differences in gender and school year related to their general confidence level in understanding construction plans using statistical inferential tests. Findings revealed that male students are more confident in their abilities than females and that senior students are the most confident, followed by juniors, and the group of freshmen and sophomores (analyzed together). When gender and school year are analyzed as a set, it is interesting to notice that the group of the female freshman and sophomore students are more confident than juniors and seniors. In relation to topics, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) plan information was found to be the most challenging for the students. For the researchers, the findings helped to define the most challenging topics and also understand students’ differences that can be used to develop further instructional materials. In addition, results will help faculty from undergraduate, construction management programs to identify students’ difficulties in visualization, so they can adequately address those during instruction, improving students’ motivation and self-confidence. Finally, results suggest that further studies related to students’ self-confidence, academic year and gender in construction management education need to be performed.