June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Design in Engineering Education
22.31.1 - 22.31.12
Diversity in Design Teams: An Investigation of Learning Styles and its Impact on TeamPerformanceWith ever-changing technologies and rising market competition, the need for innovation indesigning products and processes is increasingly important. Teamwork leads to innovationmore frequently than individual efforts, and new product development (NPD)organizations are embracing teams as their means to achieve creativity and innovation.This begs the question of how to best form and manage teams that will successfully buildquality products. In this paper, we examine the role of diversity on design teamperformance, and discuss how these diversity factors affect the dynamics and success of adesign team. In particular, we focus on learning styles, as defined by David Kolb’sExperiential Learning Theory, for its strong connection with the innovation process. Kolb’smodel defines four learning styles, each of which are highlighted in the different stages ofdesign, making learning style diversity an especially interesting factor to investigate. Wealso examine gender, ethnicity, and confidence in engineering and design skills.We present data gathered from two freshmen-level, project-based design courses offeredat University of California at Berkeley and Korea Advanced Institute of Science andTechnology. The projects are open-ended, real-world design challenges that allow studentsto explore a wide range of ideas in their design solutions as they work through the designprocess. The data was captured through a series of surveys, first to collect diversityinformation on learning styles and standard demographics, then to assess teamperformance as students reflected on their team interactions.Based on these results, we evaluate the overall impact of diversity on design teams, andprovide recommendations that will help inform design educators on how to best teachdesign teams and teamwork and to enhance overall team performance.
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