HydroLearn: An online platform for collaborative development and sharing
of active-learning resources in hydrology education
This study reports on the development and implementation of the
HydroLearn online platform that supports active learning in the field of
hydrology and water resources engineering. The platform is designed to
serve the following two main purposes: to enable instructors to
collaboratively develop and share active-learning resources, and to
enhance student learning in fundamental and emerging topics in the field
(e.g., rainfall-runoff processes, design of flood protection measures,
flood forecasting, water-energy-food nexus). Using open-source
technology, the HydroLearn platform supports customization of
pre-developed learning modules and allows instructors to share
components of their learning resources with other interested users.
HydroLearn is inspired by the need to address challenges in adoption,
scalability, and sustainability identified by research on educational
innovations. HydroLearn utilizes research-based active learning methods
(e.g., Problem-based Learning; Collaborative and Cooperative Learning)
to create authentic online learning modules. The modules engage students
in real-world hydrologic problems and provide unique opportunities to
expose undergraduate students to modern hydrologic analysis tools that
are at the forefront of hydrologic research and engineering practice.
The platform includes tools that scaffold instructors’ implementation of
sound pedagogical practices. The platform includes wizards and
pre-populated templates on how to develop student-centered learning
outcomes that ensure constructive alignment with the learning content.
The platform also includes guidance for instructors on how to develop
assessment rubrics to enhance student achievement through communicating
the expected performance levels. The study will also share results on
the implementation of a pilot learning module on flood protection.
Thirty-six undergraduate students were surveyed before and after the
implementation to determine their level of learning engagement. The
survey measured their skills engagement, emotional engagement,
participation, and performance engagement. The presentation will also
report on efforts to engage the community through a fellowship program
that aims to develop a network of educators who aspire to adopt active
learning approaches and enhance hydrology education.