The Effectiveness of Using a Web-Based Applet to Teach Concepts of Linear Programming: An Experiment in Active Learning
The graphical solution method to a two-variable linear program (LP) provides valuable insights about the general nature of multivariable linear programming models. As a result, introductory operations research/management science textbooks typically present a graphical solution method to a two-variable LP as a prelude to the presentation of more complex problems. Construction of a two-dimensional feasible region combined with iso-profit (or iso-cost) lines on a blackboard or overhead projector can be tedious, at best. Even with tools such as PowerPoint, that include drawing tools, it is difficult to show students what happens in a graphical LP as constraint lines and iso-profit lines shift around on a graph. To overcome this hurdle, this paper presents a Web-based Java script applet that was used by both instructors and students to graphically illustrate/learn fundamental concepts of LP models. It then describes the results of a study that compares student performance on exams of those who did use the applet versus those who did not. Results show that the students who used the applet to learn about LP concepts performed significantly better than those who did not. Implications for using such active learning techniques and models in the classroom are discussed.
Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
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