June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Design in Engineering Education
Shorter abstract: The engineer of 2020 is expected to not only offer technical ingenuity but also adapt to a continuously evolving environment while being able to operate outside the narrow limits of one discipline and be ethically grounded in solving the complex problems of the future. To address the competencies of the future engineer, undergraduate education must train students to not only solve engineering challenges that transcend disciplinary boundaries, but also communicate, transfer knowledge, and collaborate across technical and non-technical boundaries. One approach to train engineers in these competencies is teaching biomimicry or bio-inspired design in an engineering curriculum.
This research addresses the gap of resources for effectively teaching engineering students how to perform bio-inspired design through the creation of instructional resources based on design theory. Concept-Knowledge (C-K) Theory is the design theory used as the basis for the instructional resources including lectures, in-class activities, assignments, rubrics and templates. C-K theory is used as it is known for integrating multiple domains of information and facilitating innovation through connection building. The instructional resources scaffold the discovery and knowledge transfer processes such that the natural designs can be used to inspire engineering solutions.
To assess the learning impact of the C-K theory instructional approach to bio-inspired design a comparative design study was conducted. The C-K theory instructional approach was deployed in some sections of a second-year design course, while the other sections received the popular Biomimicry Institute (BI) design lens approach. A total of 105 students consented to participate in the research study. This paper reports on the preliminary analysis results from testing the hypothesis that the C-K approach would result in higher quality design concepts. It was found that the C-K approach group generated concepts that more closely resembled biological inspiration, meaning learning from nature to innovate rather than copying, and successfully abstracted biological system principles to create high quality concepts. Whereas the BI approach group generated concepts that more closely resembled biological imitation, which tended to fixate on observable features and produced concepts that look or act like the biological systems. The study findings provide conclusive evidence of learning impact and support design theory based bio-inspired design pedagogy.
Nagel, J. K., & Rose, C. S., & Pidaparti, R. M., & Tafoya, E. M., & Pittman, P. L., & Knaster, W. (2019, June), Preliminary Findings From a Comparative Study of Two Bio-inspired Design Methods in a Second-year Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33187
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