The Importance of Design: a comparative evaluation of problem solving in engineering education.

de Vere, Ian, Kuys, Blair and Melles, Gavin (2010) The Importance of Design: a comparative evaluation of problem solving in engineering education. In: When Design Education and Design Research meet ..., the 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE2010, 2-3 Sept 2010, NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.

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A comparative evaluation of problem solving in engineering education
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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Engineering education has been criticised for focusing solely on the science of engineering, to the detriment of preparing students for the practice of engineering. Graduates are considered by many in industry to be ill-prepared for real world problem solving and to have limited experience in applying their engineering knowledge to product outcomes. Instruction in design is uncommon, and where existing, follows a linear and predictable process that does not afford students opportunity for experimentation and exploration. However new engineering education pedagogy seeks to address these issues through early integration of design and project based learning into the curricula. This paper describes the initial findings of a comparative evaluation exercise conducted to measure relative aptitude in problem solving by two disciplines of final year engineering students and thus validate the impact of new engineering curricula. The evaluated students were from a typical Mechanical Engineering course and from the less conventional Product Design Engineering program which integrates industrial design studies into mechanical engineering curricula. Students’ problem solving methods were observed, the design outcomes were evaluated and participants surveyed. These exercises challenged the student’s problem framing and solving abilities and required the application of engineering science and design acumen to achieve a creative solution for either an open-ended or constrained problem. The early findings of this ongoing investigation are examined here, and the benefits of developing a creative design focus within an engineering curriculum are clearly evident.

Keywords:Product design engineering, wicked problems, open-ended problems, engineering education
Subjects:H Engineering > H150 Engineering Design
W Creative Arts and Design > W240 Industrial/Product Design
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Design
ID Code:53975
Deposited On:27 Mar 2023 14:39

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