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Examining the Development of Sketch Thinking and Behaviour

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Improving Visualization Skills

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.663.1 - 22.663.18



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Paper Authors

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Diarmaid Lane University of Limerick

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Niall Seery University of Limerick Orcid 16x16

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Examining the Development of Sketch Thinking and BehaviourThe complex, multi-modal nature of conceptual design activity, presents empirical challenges forresearchers in education (Middleton, 2008). Previous research carried out by Lane et al (2010a,2010b, 2009) has provided significant evidence that sketching is a teachable skill which is predicatedby the development of cognitive fluency and the ability to engage in mental synthesis and creativediscovery.This paper discusses the application of visual and verbal protocols in exploring the effectiveness of aproposed pedagogical model (Lane, Pending*) for developing sketching expertise. The protocolswere used to establish the sketching behaviour and cognitive actions of participants during designdriven sketching based activities.Forty-two volunteers participated in the research experiment. All of the participants, who were pre-service teachers of technology education, undertook a series of specially designed sketching basedactivities as part of their programme of study. Pre and post protocol analysis was used to establish theeffect of the sketching based activities on participant’s cognitive and sketching behaviour.The cognitive actions and behaviour of sketchers was definable using a specially designed codingscheme (Suwa, 1998). It was found that the number of sketches produced and ideas generated byeach participant was higher following completion of the sketching activities. There was alsosignificant evidence of an increase in the number of cognitive actions with particular reference tofunctional thoughts and the ability to synthesise geometries.In conclusion, the paper discusses the validity of applying visual and verbal protocol analysis as a toolfor analysing the cognitive behaviours and actions of sketchers. Triangulating the results of theseprotocols with evidence from psychometric tests and observational data provides a valid and scientificbasis for establishing the effectiveness of pedagogical models which promote sketching expertise. ReferencesLane, D., Seery, N. 2010a. Freehand sketching as a catalyst for developing concept driven competencies. American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference. Louisville, Kentucky.Lane, D., Seery, N., Gordon, S. 2009. The Understated Value of Freehand Sketching in Technology Education. Engineering Design Graphics Journal, 73, 13-22.Lane, D., Seery, N., Gordon, S. Year. Promoting Creative Discovery and Mental Synthesis through Freehand Sketching. In: Visualizing Change: Graphics on the Horizon, October 3-6, 2010 2010b Houghton, Michigan.* Lane, D., Seery, N., Gordon, S. Pending. A Paradigm for Promoting Visual Synthesis through Freehand Sketching. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal.Middleton, H. 2008. Examining Design Thinking. In: MIDDLETON, H. (ed.) Researching Technology Education - Methods and Techniques. Rotterdam: Sense Publications.Suwa, M., Purcell, T., Gero, J. 1998. Macroscopic analysis of design processes based on a scheme for coding designers' cognitive actions. Design Studies, 19, 29.

Lane, D., & Seery, N. (2011, June), Examining the Development of Sketch Thinking and Behaviour Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17944

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