June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Design in Engineering Education
14.332.1 - 14.332.11
Coherence and Correspondence in Engineering Design Evaluations
Abstract Much of the formal education in engineering design focuses on the teaching of analytical methods. Analysis allows one to make coherent statements about the performance of designs. There are situations in design and design education, however, where it is appropriate to use intuition: A focus on intuition sometimes allows one to make statements that correspond well with the real performance of designs. Here we studied such a situation.
Students in a design course competition were asked to make quick evaluations of the performance of other students’ designs. The surveys also contained either analysis-inducing questions or intuition-inducing questions. We found that the students put in the intuitive, correspondence-based mode, evaluated design performance more accurately. While, given this finding, the correspondence mode is more appropriate in this situation, we found a lack of consensus among design instructors and practitioners about which mode would be more effective.
In sum, our results indicate that the engineering curriculum should include methods of correspondence-based, intuitive decision-making and that instructors should be sufficiently aware of these methods to help students identify situations where they should be employed.
Introduction The majority of formal education in engineering focuses on analytical problems and analytical solutions to those problems. There are many decision situations in the design process, including educational design, which could benefit from intuitive or methodologies.
During a student design course, students were presented with a decision situation evaluating the performance of alternative designs. This situation was created to favor the intuitive methodology, and it was shown through student surveys that they were more accurate when in the intuitive mode versus the analytic mode. On the other hand, there was a lack of consensus among instructors about the performance difference when asked which mode would be more effective.
Engineering curriculum should include aspects of intuition-based decisions and help students identify situations where they are more effective rather than solely relying on analytical decision- making methods.
Background Engineers must make decisions repeatedly throughout their careers. They are confronted with multiple design, material, or manufacturing alternatives and must decide which alternative presents the best design option. The thought processes used for these decisions are not very well understood. Research in the field of decision-making has produced two metrics for good decision-making: coherence and correspondence. Research by Kenneth Hammond5,6,7 has shown that these two metrics are not exclusive, as was once thought, but are actually complementary. These two metrics, correspondence and coherence, describe the underlying goal of the decision making process while intuition and analysis describe the process.
Evans, J., & Katsikopoulos, K., & Foster, C. (2009, June), Coherence And Correspondence In Engineering Design Evaluations Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4747
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