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Self-evaluation of Design Decision-making Skills Gained Through Student Generated Learning Aids

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Design Throughout the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1363.1 - 26.1363.13



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Paper Authors


David C. Jensen University of Arkansas

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Dr. David C. Jensen leads the research effort for the Complex Adaptive Engineered Systems Research Laboratory. He has worked extensively in modeling, simulating, and validating complex engineered systems. His research has been supported by awards through NSF, NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and DARPA. He holds an appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Arkansas where he also teaches courses in machine element and complex systems design. Dr. Jensen earned a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University in 2012. He is actively involved in the fields of engineering design, prognostics and health management, and engineering design education.

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Dennis Beck University of Arkansas

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Dennis Beck ( is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Arkansas, United States. His research focuses on the impact of online technologies on vulnerable populations. In this vein, he has studied the influence of immersive, 3D environments on teachers and students, as well as the impact of teacher and student evaluations and perceptions in these environments. He has published in several venues, including Computers & Education, American Journal of Distance Education, Educational Administration Quarterly, and the Journal of Educational Research.

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Self-Evaluation of Design Decision-Making Skills Gained through Student Generated Learning AidsThis paper presents the findings from research in improving undergraduate engineering designdecision-making skills. This work is motivated by the need to provide students with moredesign-decision making experience to enable them to be ready to engineer upon graduation. Inthis research, third and fourth year undergraduate mechanical engineering students were guidedthrough the process of designing learning aid prototypes to be used in general engineeringeducation. Students were encouraged to use advanced technologies such as 3D printing andvirtual simulation to realize their concepts. This project assisted students in identifying their ownand typical misconceptions and devise tools which corrected those cognitive errors. A series ofself-evaluation methods were used to identify the student’s perception of their decision-makingskill levels. This work found that students gained a deeper understanding of engineeringfundamentals through generating learning aids. Over the multiple categories of design decision-making skills examined, there was various levels of change in the student’s perceived skill level.These results identify some of the challenges in using skills assessment as a means for evaluatingeducation reform efficacy. Inconsistencies between student reporting improvements in categoriesbut also reporting reduced skill levels indicate that students may grow in their understanding oftheir own skill limitations through the project activities. Overall, this work demonstrates asituated cognitive approach to teaching design decision-making in an authentic environment andpresents metrics for evaluating the efficacy of that approach. The objective of this work is toenable graduating students to be confident in their abilities to make design decisions in anindustrial setting at the beginning of their careers.

Jensen, D. C., & Beck, D. (2015, June), Self-evaluation of Design Decision-making Skills Gained Through Student Generated Learning Aids Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24700

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