Forming a mindset: Design students' preconceptions about the usefulness of systematic methods

Oscar Person, Jaap Daalhuizen, Valentin Gattol

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Teaching students to use systematic design methods effectively is not straightforward. While method teaching often focuses on the procedural aspects of method usage (e.g., what steps to take and in what order), effectively using a systematic method entails more than following its 'instructions'. As noted by Andreasen [1], students need to be equipped with a proper method mindset in order to use methods effectively. A mindset represents a mental framework that supports designers in using methods. To this end, Andreasen recognizes that a mindset encompasses at least knowledge about a method and its use. Yet, learning to use a new method requires more than just prior knowledge about it. In order to use it effectively, students also need to develop a preference for working with a method (or certain type of methods). In this paper, we investigate how knowledge and preference affect method usage. Drawing on a survey among 305 industrial design engineering students, we study how prior knowledge and preference for systematic methods affect their use in five different basic design activities. For four of the activities, we show that preference mediated the effect of knowledge on method usage. For one activity (analysis), we unveil a complementary mediation effect for the knowledge-usage relationship. Our results support Andreasen's proposition of a method mindset. They also extend Andreasen's initial ideas about the underlying elements of a method mindset by underscoring the role preference holds in facilitating method usage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Design Education for Future Wellbeing, EPDE 2012
Number of pages5
PublisherDesign Society
Publication date2012
ISBN (Print)9781904670360
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event14th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Design Education for Future Wellbeing - Antwerp, Belgium
Duration: 6 Sep 20127 Sep 2012
Conference number: 14

Conference

Conference14th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Number14
Country/TerritoryBelgium
CityAntwerp
Period06/09/201207/09/2012

Keywords

  • Product design
  • Students

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