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Teaching Small Engine Diagnostics Using Mobile App Technology

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2015 ASABE Annual International Meeting  152190040.(doi:10.13031/aim.20152190040)
Authors:   Hillary E Valdetero, Kendall R Kirk, Thomas R Dobbins, Phil M Fravel
Keywords:   small engine diagnostics, agricultural mechanization, agricultural education, mobile technology

Abstract. Students enrolled in AGM 452 Mobile Power, an Agricultural and Mechanization Business course at Clemson University completed a lab using a Small Engine Diagnostics Mobile App to diagnose a previously running four-stroke small engine that was disabled by imposing a problem on the engine. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of the mobile application in diagnosing a small engine with a pre-existing problem for both high and low aptitude students. The mobile app was compared with a printout of the mobile app, and an engine user manual as diagnostic tools. The process flow of the mobile app was found to be effective with significantly a higher rate of students solving the problem using the mobile app (67%) or the printed version (50%) as compared to those using the user manual (0%). Users of the app also reported a significantly increased confidence level in perceived competency and knowledge of small engines for low aptitude students as compared to other groups in the study. A higher level of satisfaction was reported from those who used the mobile app. While high aptitude students were more inclined to indicate a hands-on learning style preference; low aptitude students reported greater confidence and an increased knowledge base as a result of the hands-on activity. The mobile app in combination with a hands-on activity is an effective means of instructional delivery for small engine diagnostics and has the potential to be useful in both secondary and higher education classrooms as an innovative teaching tool.

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