13 September 2008

Design Practice

Design is central to engineering (as well as other professional endeavors). This research seeks to investigate design knowledge and learning trajectories with an ultimate goal of informing design education.

We are working on 2 projects:

Cognitive processes of iteration in engineering design. This research builds on a cognitive model of iteration in engineering design to investigate how engineers approach design problems. Earlier research illustrated design as an iterative and transformative process of revisiting and resolving aspects of a design task (e.g., gathering and filtering problem information, monitoring progress and understanding, and revising possible solutions). Current research seeks to characterize iterative behavior across levels of experience and performance as a means for exploring features of design learning. Robin Adams, Shawn Jordan, and Shanna Daly are lead researchers on this project.

Problem prototyping. This research seeks to characterize how engineers formulate design problems – with a particular focus on eliciting the underlying schema behind problem formulation strategies. The idea of “problem prototyping” parallels a process of prototyping potential design solutions, in which prototypes are used as a strategy to better understand the nature of the design problem.