St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.390.1 - 5.390.11
Enhancing Design Education by Processing the Design Experience Steven B. Shooter, Catherine A. Shooter Bucknell University Tresseler Counseling Services
Experiential learning can be simply described as learning through doing. It is a process through which individuals construct knowledge, acquire skills and enhance values from direct experience. Traditional engineering education has included experiential components through laboratory assignments often linked with a course. Students would read the lab handout, perform the procedures, and then write a brief lab report describing the results which is then graded and returned. Principles of experiential learning suggest a more active approach that is better suited to design education. Throughout the experiential learning process, learners are actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative and constructing meaning. A design report tends to focus on the final designed artifact and its satisfaction of the design specifications. It does not often reflect the learning from the experience of designing. Meaningful learning occurs through reflection and resolution of cognitive conflict. This paper describes techniques for processing the design experience; that is, guiding the students through meaningful reflection. The result is that students gain more than just the experience of completing a design, but an enrichment and realization of the methods and skills developed.
Many engineers contend that design is the heart of engineering. Traditional engineering curricula were based on the concept that a strong foundation in engineering sciences would naturally lead to better designers. The curriculum would often contain some form of a capstone design experience where students would be given a design problem to resolve. The students may or may not have been taught how to best approach the solution to the design problem. At the end of the allotted time period (a semester or some other number of weeks), the design project would culminate with the delivery of a design report and, perhaps, a presentation. The students’ performance was then evaluated on some quality measure of the final design product and accompanying documentation. Perhaps this practice stemmed from the traditional laboratory course process where the students read the lab handout, perform the experiment, and write a lab report on the results.
It has only been in the last decade that design methods have been accepted and widely taught, as evidenced by the abundance of design texts published in the 1990’s. While design methodologies vary with the authors, the general flow remains consistent: define the problem, establish engineering requirements, generate concepts, design details, evaluate, and present the results. As the students make progress on their project, there may be some discussion and feedback from the faculty. This often occurs in written and oral form. However, the content of
McNeill, M., & Shooter, S. (2000, June), Interdisciplinary Collaborative Learning In Mechatronics At Bucknell University Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8868
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