As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all levels of education have shifted to greater reliance on electronic technologies or e-learning. This shift creates new needs for e-learning materials as well as for knowledge about which strategies support student learning in diverse settings. This project will build on the success of prior NSF funding for the Center for Aviation and Automotive Technological Education using Virtual E-Schools (CA2VES). This funding supported early initiatives to create and deliver accessible e-learning resources to support aviation and automotive technological education. Through its EducateWorkforce platform, which emphasizes engaging and effective online teaching and learning, CA2VES is uniquely positioned to support technological instructors who are making a transition to online learning. In addition to helping meet the aviation and automotive technician education needs of today, the project will also focus on educational needs relevant for future manufacturing technologies. The project is directly relevant to NSF’s funding priority areas (e.g., Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier) and the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges (e.g., Enhancing Virtual Reality; Advancing Personalized Learning).

Informed by industry, governmental agencies, and academia, the project will: 1) support aviation and automotive technological fields with a scalable, cost-effective, and flexible e-learning model; 2) grow and broaden the aviation and automotive network of scholars; 3) use e-learning to assist technical and community colleges in support of diverse communities; and 4) conduct evidence-based research and pursue longitudinal studies on the efficacy of e-learning and virtual reality/augmented reality for diverse settings. This e-learning delivery model will integrate classroom and hands-on laboratory experiences for a diverse aviation and automotive technician education audience. The project outcomes will provide practical guidelines and resources for school administrators and system designers for developing and deploying e-learning curricula for diverse audiences. Additionally, the project is intended to serve as a national resource for curated e-learning materials for aviation and automotive technology and provide an online resource for awareness of career pathways. A key component of the project is its integration of Universal Design for Learning principles into curriculum development. As a result, the materials developed by the project will serve all learners, including veterans, women, economically marginalized students, first-generation students, and students with learning differences. The project intends to generate new knowledge about e-learning through evidence-based controlled and longitudinal studies on the efficacy of e-learning approaches to broaden the aviation and automotive talent pipeline and its application to diverse populations. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Virginia Carter
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Clemson University
United States
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