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Validation Of A Design Pedagogy Framework Using Qualitative Analysis

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Engineering Design: Implementation and Evaluation

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1343.1 - 14.1343.18



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Paper Authors

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Gül Okudan Pennsylvania State University

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Alexander Yin Pennsylvania State University

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Saraj Gupta Pennsylvania State University

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Lisa Lattuca Pennsylvania State University

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Patrick Terenzini Pennsylvania State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Validation of a Design Pedagogy Framework Using Qualitative Analysis Abstract

In this paper, we document our qualitative analysis and its results in search for validation of the proposed design pedagogy framework. In the proposed framework, the design learning environment is dynamic with several actors providing and receiving input/feedback. Within the dynamic learning environment, the teachers and students interact through the design task, expectations, the design process, and team composition. All these actors and their activities in this dynamic design learning environment are influenced by predominantly outside parties setting the desired outcomes for design learning, design outcomes, and long term effects (e.g., retention, increased interest in engineering). Through a thematic analysis of interviews with administrators, faculty, students; and classroom observations at Harvey Mudd College, we were able to validate and enhance the conceptual framework by better understanding the relationship between the dynamic learning environment and the desired design outcomes.


The importance put on engineering design teaching and learning increased over the last decade. Despite this fact, however, it is still challenging to discern the most appropriate pedagogic setting that will culminate in long term, deep design learning. Among the reasons for this are: 1) there is no agreement on how design should be taught, or if it can be taught at all, 2) design outcome assessment is challenging (do we assess the artifact designed, if so how do we define good design), and 3) if good design cannot easily be defined, how do we create the best setting to convey the conceptual learning behind it, etc. Consequently, there is a need for a framework of design pedagogy that can capture potential factors with effects on student learning. Such a framework can be of use while comparing design settings for their effectiveness as well as guiding educators in developing course materials, modules, or experiences that can stimulate an effective design learning environment. The study’s goals are not only to validate but also to enhance the conceptual framework by better understanding the relationship between the dynamic learning environment and the desired design outcomes.

Literature Review

Design research tackles with design practice in three different ways: normative, empirical and design-as-an-art. Normative approach theorists have proposed systematic approaches to design 1 234 . This body of work derives from a rational analysis of design tasks and their requirements, and thus yielded widely-known steps for design (e.g., problem definition, concept generation, etc.). Criticism against the normative approach has emerged from empirical studies in design, depicting design methodology as a rigid prescription that does not work even in ideal laboratory situations5. In fact, empirical studies raise the question of whether designers follow any methodology at all. Design-as-an-art theorists6 postulated that the work of designers cannot be grasped by any methodology, and that the design practice much resembles the work of an artist, who applies different kinds of methods in a flexible manner in a cycle of reflection-action-re-

Okudan, G., & Yin, A., & Gupta, S., & Lattuca, L., & Terenzini, P. (2009, June), Validation Of A Design Pedagogy Framework Using Qualitative Analysis Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5252

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