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Does Cad Improve Spatial Visualization Ability?

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.394.1 - 6.394.8

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Paper Authors

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Jianping Yue

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Daniel M. Chen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2486

Does CAD Improve Spatial Visualization Ability?

Jianping Yue

Department of Engineering Technologies Essex County College Newark, New Jersey

Daniel M. Chen

Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, Michigan


This paper presents a study conducted collaboratively at a two-year community college and a four-year university. Technical drawing skills are fundamental to engineering technology students. It is generally believed that spatial visualization abilities affect a student’s performance in graphics courses. Do factors, such as training, age, and gender, contribute to spatial visualization abilities? Do computer-aided design (CAD) courses improve spatial visualization abilities? This study investigates these factors through the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test – Rotation. The statistical results, obtained from two different student populations representing two-year and four-year institutions, are compared. The results from the two-year college also supplement numerous studies done at other four-year universities.

1. Introduction

Since proficiency in engineering graphics is essential to engineering and technology students, the relationship between spatial visualization ability and technical drawing skills has long been an interesting research topic for engineering and technology educators. Does training improve spatial visualization ability? Research results have not been able to draw a definite conclusion. Some research results 3, 15 showed that graphics training did improve spatial visualization ability, while other studies 7, 13, 14, 17 showed no evidence of such improvement. Recent years, computer- aided design (CAD) software packages have been widely used in engineering and technology

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Yue, J., & Chen, D. M. (2001, June), Does Cad Improve Spatial Visualization Ability? Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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