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Engineering problem solving has become more complex and reliant on technology making engineering judgement an increasingly important and essential skill for engineers. Educators need to ensure that students do not become rote learners with little ability to critically analyze the result of solutions. This suggests that greater focus should be placed on developing engineering judgement, specifically engineering intuition, in our students who will be the future engineering workforce. This project is focused on the following four research questions: 1) What are practicing professional engineers’ perceptions of discipline specific intuition and its use in the workplace? 2) Where does intuition manifest in expert engineer decision-making and problem-solving processes? 3) How does the motivation and identity of practicing professional engineers relate to discipline-specific intuition? 4) What would an instrument designed to validly and reliably measure engineering intuition look like? Literature from the fields of nursing (Smith), management (Simon), and expertise development (Dreyfus) suggest intuition plays a role in both decision making and becoming an expert. This literature is used to support our definition of engineering intuition which is defined as the ability to: 1) assess the feasibility of a solution or response, and 2) predict outcomes and/or options within an engineering scenario (Authors). This paper serves as an update on the progress of our work to date. The first three research questions have been addressed through interviews with engineering practitioners at various stages in their careers, from early career to retired. Emergent findings have allowed us to construct a modified definition of engineering intuition, while also identifying related constructs. In Spring 2021, we created and tested an instrument to measure intuition. This instrument was re-deployed in Fall 2021. Preliminary results from the project’s qualitative and quantitative efforts will be presented. Our ultimate aim of this project is to inform the creation of classroom practices that improve students’ ability to develop, recognize, and improve their own engineering intuition. Select References: Authors (2020). Dreyfus, Stuart E., and Hubert L. Dreyfus. A five-stage model of the mental activities involved in directed skill acquisition. No. ORC-80-2. California Univ Berkeley Operations Research Center, 1980. Smith, Anita. "Exploring the legitimacy of intuition as a form of nursing knowledge." Nursing Standard (through 2013) 23.40 (2009): 35. Simon, Herbert A. "Making management decisions: The role of intuition and emotion." Academy of Management Perspectives 1.1 (1987): 57-64.
Miskioglu, E., & Carberry, A., & Martin, K., & Kavale, S., & Bolton, C., & Aaron, C., & Roth, M. (2022, August), Update on is it Rocket Science or Brain Science? Developing an Approach to Measure Engineering Intuition Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/42003
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