Learning and Experiencing Engineering Design Processes that Promote Innovative Outcomes
Have you ever happened upon a product that offers a truly innovative solution to one of life’s everyday frustrations? That product is the result of an engineering team’s commitment to the design process. When technical competence is enhanced with a collaborative design process you end up with innovative solutions like the “Snack & Play” or “Spinoculars”. Perhaps, most importantly, as Professors Paul Leu and Mary Besterfield-Sacre point out, working together makes the learning process much more fun and meaningful.
Leu and Besterfield-Sacre developed and implemented specific activities that enhanced 100 engineering students’ ability to solve open-ended design problems. Students enrolled in IE 1051 (Engineering Product Design) and IE 1061 (Human Factors Engineering) generated ideas and overcame mental blocks using team-building activities, brainstorming activities, team review surveys, online reflections and team wikis. These activities encouraged students to (1) search for the next right answer, (2) look from multiple viewpoints, (3) defer judgment, and (4) challenge assumptions. By building a more impactful learning experience for engineering students, Professors Leu and Besterfield-Sacre are ensuring that the human-built world is innovated using the best ideas.