April 23, 2021
April 23, 2021
April 25, 2021
Brainstorming and ideation during preliminary design is a critical aspect of successful engineering design processes, and ensuring that the design space is fully explored is vital to the outcome of the process. As a result, it is important that engineering educators can facilitate ideation processes in ways that lead to successful, innovative solutions down the road. And while there exist a number of brainstorming tools to support ideation, each method is also accompanied by different advantages, drawbacks, and challenges. The purpose of this paper is to explore student perceptions related to challenges faced during both structured and unstructured brainstorming activities and to offer recommendations rooted in student experiences and reflections from these different processes. To address this purpose, we conducted a series of both structured and unstructured brainstorming activities and follow-up, retrospective focus groups with teams of engineering students. Students described salient challenges they encountered as they engaged in the brainstorming activity and offered recommendations for future groups of students who might engage in similar activities in the future. We used qualitative thematic analysis to explore dominant themes in student experiences and perceptions of the different brainstorming processes. Findings suggest that students encountered challenges in three major areas: 1) ignoring constraints, 2) accommodation of different ideation styles within a group, and 3) lack of familiarity with the design space. Notably, these findings were corroborated with quantitative data concerning the novelty of design solutions developed across different brainstorming groups. Based on these results, we recommend that engineering design educators consider facilitating ideation processes in ways that blend both structured and unstructured methods and, further, provide opportunities for engagement with relevant stakeholders within the design space prior to conceptual ideation activities. Our work offers engineering design educators and researchers tools to better understand salient factors that might influence and improve team-based brainstorming activities.
Osman, A., & Cuellar, E., & Chiem, A. T., & Bethel, C., & Lutz, B. D. (2021, April), Investigating Student Perceptions of Team-based Brainstorming During Conceptual Design: Challenges and Recommendations Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference - "Pushing Past Pandemic Pedagogy: Learning from Disruption", Virtual. https://peer.asee.org/38238
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