June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.761.1 - 26.761.14
Factors of Rationality in Student Design Decision-makingDesign is a decision-making process. Designers make decisions between alternative solutions,decisions about feasibility of individual solutions, decisions about narrowing or broadening theproblem scope. They also make logistical decision about when teams will meet, how decisionswill be made. Recent analysis of high school student design activities revealed that groups andindividuals are not spending much time on decision processes and it can be assumed that thefaculties of beginning college students are in a similar vein. In the past year changes were madeto a freshman level design thinking course to improve student approaches to decision making.Accompanying these changes, the instructors, as researchers, have attempted to understandstudent decision processes in order to improve instruction.This paper will discuss the development of an instrument to help evaluate student decisionpriorities. Understanding and measuring the decision processes among group decisions poseschallenges. Based on an initial review of the literature, an instrument to measure group designdecisions was not identified. Literature was reviewed to identify elements of effective designdecisions as well as useable items from existing instruments. Literature on effective strategies fordecision-making in related fields of study. The survey instrument developed included 16questions about decision processes that related to four proposed latent constructs. Prior toadministration of the instrument, a team of teacher educators and educational researchersprovided feedback on content validity. The survey was administered to 218 students followingreflection on a group design project at the end of the semester.Using exploratory factor analysis (EFA), several results are elucidated. By focusing only onquestions in the survey relevant to decision processes, a nascent model was formed with 13indicators loading on three factors (6, 4, and 4 questions respectively, with one item weaklycross-loading). The model explains 61.814% of the variation in the items and each factor hasstrong internal consistency as measured by Cronbach’s alpha (α = .898, α = .877, and α = .80).The accompanying results also support a new survey instrument for understanding sources ofdesign decision processes revolving around the three factors: processing data, consideringalternatives, and understanding decisions.The model is currently undergoing confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) in a 670 student sample,which will be completed in December 2014. The CFA process may confirm the suggestedmodel as well as evaluate its validity through convergence and discrimination with appropriatemetrics of group behavior. Once confirmed, this model could be used in other environments togauge the ubiquity of these constructs. Regardless of these results however, these findingsprovide focus areas for subsequent instructional design based on student perceptions of groupdecision-making processes.
Jackson, A., & Mentzer, N., & Zissimopoulos, A. N. (2015, June), Factors of Group Design Decision Making Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24098
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