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Work in Progress: Quantifying the Differences Between Professional Expert Engineers and Engineering Students Designing: Empirical Foundations for Improved Engineering Education

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

DEED Postcard Session 2 and Presentation of Student Essay Competition Winners

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29175

Download Count

123

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Paper Authors

biography

Kurt Henry Becker Utah State University, Center for Engineering Education Research

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Kurt Becker is the current director for the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) which examines innovative and effective engineering education practices as well as classroom technologies that advance learning and teaching in engineering. He is also working on National Science Foundation (NSF) funded projects exploring engineering design thinking. His areas of research include engineering design thinking, adult learning cognition, engineering education professional development and technical training. He has extensive international experience working on technical training and engineering educaton projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and U.S. Department of Labor, USAID. Countries where he has worked include Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Thailand. In addition, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University.

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Morteza Pourmohamadi Tabriz Islamic Art University

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Morteza Pourmohamadi is an Assistant Professor in Industrial Design at Tabriz Islamic Art University. His research is mainly focused on cognitive studies of design and creativity.

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Sarah Abdellahi University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Lilian Maria de Souza Almeida Utah State University

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Yuzhen Luo Utah State University, Department of Engineering Education

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PhD student
Department of Engineering Education
Utah State University

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John S Gero University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and George Mason University

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John Gero is a Research Professor in Computer Science and Architecture at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Research Professor in the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, and Research Professor in Computational Social Science at George Mason University. He was formerly Professor of Design Science, University of Sydney. He has edited/authored over 50 books and published over 650 research papers. He has been a professor of mechanical engineering, civil engineering, architecture, cognitive science, and computer science at MIT, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, Columbia and CMU in the USA, at Strathclyde and Loughborough in the UK, at INSA-Lyon and Provence in France and at EPFL in Switzerland.

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Abstract

This work in progress paper describes a funded National Science Foundation (NSF) project that measures and compares the design thinking of teams of engineering students and teams of expert engineers through a study of their cognitive processes while designing. Tools and processes developed in previously funded NSF projects provide a uniform basis for comparing students and experts that is independent of the educational and experiential background of the participants and provide a robust empirical evidence-based grounding for its conclusions.

Understanding the difference between developing learners and an expert target performance is essential to the identification of appropriate learning experiences to move learners along the trajectory to becoming experts. This project addresses the gap in knowledge and provides statistically significant evidence using a controlled study of cohorts of teams of students from two universities with different diversity profiles and of teams of engineering design experts, to quantitatively measure their respective cognition while designing. It utilizes the protocol analysis method, where videos are transcribed, segmented, coded, and analyzed to produce the base data. The basis for coding and analysis is the FBS Ontology, which is a recognized model used in research.

These coded protocols provide a very rich data source from which the design cognition can be determined and understood. The analytical techniques are drawn from design theory, cognitive science and statistical modeling. These are related to design behavior and designing style and are used to compare student and expert design cognition. The results will inform leaders in engineering education and developers of instructional materials and curricula, as well as teachers and designers planning classroom strategies, of initiatives in formal engineering education. The development of educational strategies will be explored and developed through a workshop of engineering design educators to inform and improve engineering education models while expanding our understanding of how students evolve to acquire expert-level design skills.

Becker, K. H., & Pourmohamadi, M., & Abdellahi, S., & de Souza Almeida, L. M., & Luo, Y., & Gero, J. S. (2017, June), Work in Progress: Quantifying the Differences Between Professional Expert Engineers and Engineering Students Designing: Empirical Foundations for Improved Engineering Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29175

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