Title: How do generic cognitive strategies affect proceeding in freshmen's engineering design? Results of a pilot study in engineering design education

Authors: Marlen Melzer; Winfried Hacker

Addresses: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Institute of General Psychology, Biological Psychology and Methods of Psychology, Task Force 'Knowledge-Thinking-Acting', Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany ' Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Institute of General Psychology, Biological Psychology and Methods of Psychology, Task Force 'Knowledge-Thinking-Acting', Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany

Abstract: The innovative impact of technical products strongly depends on the ways of proceeding in the early phases of engineering design. Within a quasi-experimental randomised control group design including 95 engineering design students forming 21 groups, we analysed whether offering a system of generic cognitive strategies in addition to the regular curriculum in engineering design methodology may significantly improve engineering students' knowledge, ways of proceeding, and performance. The additionally provided strategies are associated with a significantly larger increase of reported knowledge on generic cognitive techniques and strategies utilised by a greater proportion of teams assigned to the experimental group. These results suggest integrating generic cognitive strategies into the regular engineering design curriculum.

Keywords: design thinking; generic cognitive strategies; design research; human design problem solving; design education; engineering design; design methodology; higher education; design curriculum.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2015.067232

Journal of Design Research, 2015 Vol.13 No.1, pp.55 - 77

Available online: 01 Feb 2015

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