The need to include topics of analysis and investigation of structural failures in Civil Engineering undergraduate courses has been nationally recognized for some time. Structural failures are taken here to an educational ground because important lessons can be learned from failures. The goal of this project is to create new learning materials for active learning in a simulated environment to improve students’ awareness about the causes and effects of structural failures in engineering. To achieve this, the research will develop a computer-based learning system, in which students learn on structural failures by performing in a simulated environment. Several modules will be developed and tested, to prepare civil engineering students to tackle problematic situations.
The implementation of computer-based learning has proven to be effective in university courses in disciplines other than SMET. The idea of asking the student to perform in a simulated environment is not new and was originally developed for students of management schools, but its use in civil engineering is a specific contribution of this project. This involves adapting a methodology to groups of engineering students. The approach can be seen as immersed in case-based reasoning, although reasoning in this proposal is made by the learner and not by the computer. Only the simulated cases that need to be solved by the learner are implemented in the computer. The expected product is a prototype packed in CD format containing the simulations developed.