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Neurocognitive Examination of the Impact of Design Project Representation on Student Motivation and Performance

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division (DEED) Technical Session 2

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Design in Engineering Education Division (DEED)

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Paper Authors


Corey James Kado Florida Polytechnic University

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He is a junior-level student at Florida Polytechnic University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He is a Student Research Assistant under Dr. Elisabeth Kames, focusing on Design Neurocognition.

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Elisabeth Kames Florida Polytechnic University

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Dr. Elisabeth Kames is an Assistant Professor at Florida Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on engineering design and manufacturing, including pedagogical approaches. She is also interested in the impact of motivation on performance and persistence in mechanical engineering design courses. Elisabeth is an active member of ASEE, ASME, and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

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The ASME Vision 2030 Project (V2030) outlined a set of goals to aid in the development of engineering education to better face the current and future demands of the profession. Part of this vision proposed the implementation of designed-based curricula throughout the degree program. These design courses are meant to introduce students to implementing theoretical knowledge into real-world applications and design tasks. The purpose of this preliminary study is to investigate the impact of design courses on the neurocognition of mechanical engineering students. This study utilizes a group of students in a sequential series of cornerstone design courses. The study makes use of an electroencephalography (EEG) device to monitor the participant's brain activity during a design task. This data will compare brain activity when the participants are presented with differing modalities of design exercises. A modified version of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) will self-assess the student’s motivation toward the design tasks. The robustness of this study allows for the ability to examine the impact of both brain activation, motivation, and learning style on the student’s design. Motivation, brain activation, and learning style are measured regarding a student’s demographics, including gender, residency, and age, to determine if a correlation is present. The results of the study indicate that there is a correlation between change in brain activation in the beta frequency located in the right frontal cortex and design problem modality. These findings further present a strong correlation between the brain activations and self-reported motivations of the students. Specifically, a student’s cognition motivation had a positive influence with design problems presented as pictures. Further it was determined that a kinesthetic learning style benefitted from pictural design problems, as well.

Kado, C. J., & Kames, E. (2023, June), Neurocognitive Examination of the Impact of Design Project Representation on Student Motivation and Performance Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43726

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