Practical experiential learning: a methodology approach for teaching undergraduate biomechanics
Biomechanics is the field of study that examines different physical characteristics of the human body combined with the principles of Newtonian mechanics. This discipline requires competency in algebra, trigonometry, and physics, which is particularly challenging for many students pursuing an undergraduate degree in kinesiology. This paper presents the development and implementation of a biomechanics instructional approach for kinesiology undergraduate students using active-experimental learning sections. Focused on integrating acquired knowledge and applied real-life examples via hands-on experiences, the students work in small groups to complete five lab activities and a final project. Lab activities are designed to match concepts in the lectures as well as advance students’ skills in data collection, processing, and analysis. These active and experimental learning approaches offer students the opportunity to gain occupational experience by collecting data and estimating kinematic and kinetic parameters. Students also critically interpret data and gain a solid understanding of methods used to improve the performer's movements. Throughout the semester, students demonstrate improvements in their critical thinking abilities and proficiency in using dedicated biomechanical software and hardware through a series of increasingly challenging lab activities. They also apply the learned skills in their final project, where they choose and analyze a unique movement for injury prevention and/or performance improvement. In conclusion, the progressive arrangement of these activities successfully guides students to practice and apply their data collection and analytical skills to human movement analysis.
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