FREE K-12 standards-aligned STEM

curriculum for educators everywhere!

Find more at TeachEngineering.org .

Engineering Design Process

The engineering design process emphasizes open-ended problem solving and encourages students to learn from failure . This process nurtures students’ abilities to create innovative solutions to challenges in any subject!

research on engineering design process

The engineering design process is a series of steps that guides engineering teams as we solve problems. The design process is iterative , meaning that we repeat the steps as many times as needed, making improvements along the way as we learn from failure and uncover new design possibilities to arrive at great solutions.

Overarching themes of the engineering design process are teamwork and design . Strengthen your students’ understanding of open-ended design as you encourage them to work together to brainstorm new ideas, apply science and math concepts, test prototypes and analyze data—and aim for creativity and practicality in their solutions. Project-based learning engages learners of all ages—and fosters STEM literacy.

Browse all K-12 engineering design process curriculum

Ask: identify the need & constraints.

Engineers ask critical questions about what they want to create, whether it be a skyscraper, amusement park ride, bicycle or smartphone. These questions include: What is the problem to solve? What do we want to design? Who is it for? What do we want to accomplish? What are the project requirements? What are the limitations? What is our goal?

Research the Problem

This includes talking to people from many different backgrounds and specialties to assist with researching what products or solutions already exist, or what technologies might be adaptable to your needs.

Imagine: Develop Possible Solutions

You work with a team to brainstorm ideas and develop as many solutions as possible. This is the time to encourage wild ideas and defer judgment! Build on the ideas of others! Stay focused on topic, and have one conversation at a time! Remember: good design is all about teamwork! Help students understand the brainstorming guidelines by using the TE handout and two sizes of classroom posters .

Plan: Select a Promising Solution

For many teams this is the hardest step! Revisit the needs, constraints and research from the earlier steps, compare your best ideas, select one solution and make a plan to move forward with it.

Create: Build a Prototype

Building a prototype makes your ideas real! These early versions of the design solution help your team verify whether the design meets the original challenge objectives. Push yourself for creativity, imagination and excellence in design.

Test and Evaluate Prototype

Does it work? Does it solve the need? Communicate the results and get feedback. Analyze and talk about what works, what doesn't and what could be improved.

Improve: Redesign as Needed

Discuss how you could improve your solution. Make revisions. Draw new designs. Iterate your design to make your product the best it can be. And now, REPEAT!

Check out our high school engineering design unit

research on engineering design process

Engineering-Design Aligned Curricula

research on engineering design process

The TeachEngineering hands-on activities featured here, by grade band, exemplify the engineering design process.

preview of 'Bacteria! It’s Everywhere! ' Activity

Students investigate what causes them to become sick during the school year. They use the engineering design process to test the classroom lab spaces for bacteria. After their tests, they develop ideas to control the spread of germs within the classroom.

preview of 'Soil from Spoiled: Engineering a Compost Habitat for Worms' Activity

A unique activity for young learners that combines engineering and biology, students design an optimal environment for red wiggler worms in a compost bin.

preview of 'Stop Freewheeling Using Friction! ' Maker Challenge

In this maker challenge, students use the engineering design process to design a covering for a portable wheelchair ramp for their school. The design must be easy to use, and allows people to move up the ramp easily and go down slowly.

preview of 'Inundation Inspiration' Maker Challenge

Students employ the engineering design process to create a device that uses water-absorbing crystals for use during a flood or storm surge. They use (or build) a toy house, follow the engineering design process to build their device, and subject the house to tests that mimic a heavy flood or rising ...

preview of 'Silkworm Strength! ' Maker Challenge

Students use the engineering design process to design a bridge out of silkworm cocoons that can hold at least 50 grams. Students can use other materials to supplement the silk bridge, but have a $10 budget.

preview of 'Biodomes Engineering Design Project: Lessons 2-6' Activity

In this multi-day activity, students explore environments, ecosystems, energy flow and organism interactions by creating a scale model biodome, following the steps of the engineering design process.

preview of 'Exploring Variables While Testing & Improving Mint-Mobiles (for Elementary School)' Activity

Build a model race car out of lifesaver candies, popsicle sticks, straws, and other fun materials! Have students learn about independent, dependent, and control variables, and find out who can make the fastest car given their new knowledge.

preview of 'Operation Build a Bridge and Get Over It ' Activity

Design and construct a bridge for a local city that will have a high strength-to-weight ratio and resist collapse. Have students use their understanding of the engineering design process—and a lot of wooden craft sticks—to achieve their goals.

preview of 'Design and Build a Rube Goldberg ' Activity

In this two-part activity, students design and build Rube Goldberg machines. This open-ended challenge employs the engineering design process and may have a pre-determined purpose, such as rolling a marble into a cup from a distance, or let students decide the purposes.

preview of 'Water Bottle Rockets' Activity

Students are challenged to design and build rockets from two-liter plastic soda bottles that travel as far and straight as possible or stay aloft as long as possible. Guided by the steps of the engineering design process, students first watch a video that shows rocket launch failures and then partic...

preview of 'Creative Crash Test Cars' Maker Challenge

Students explore how mass affects momentum in head-on collisions and experience the engineering design process as if they are engineers working on the next big safety feature for passenger cars. They design, create and redesign impact-resistant passenger vehicle compartments for small-size model car...

preview of 'Trebuchet Design & Build Challenge ' Activity

Students work as teams of engineers to design and build their own trebuchets. They research how to build and test their trebuchets, evaluate their results, and present their results and design process to the class.

Grades 9-12

preview of 'Out-of-the Box: A Furniture Design + Engineering Challenge ' Maker Challenge

Student teams follow the steps of the engineering design process as they design and build architecturally inspired cardboard furniture. Given a list of constraints, including limited fabrication materials and tools, groups research architectural styles, brainstorm ideas, make small-scale quick proto...

preview of 'Balloons' Activity

Students follow the steps of the engineering design process as they design and construct balloons for aerial surveillance. Applying their newfound knowledge, the young engineers build and test balloons that fly carrying small flip cameras that capture aerial images of their school.

preview of 'Inquiry and Engineering: Gliders' Activity

Student teams design, build and test small-sized gliders to maximize flight distance and an aerodynamic ratio, applying their knowledge of fluid dynamics to its role in flight. Students experience the entire engineering design process, from brainstorming to CAD (or by hand) drafting, including resea...

preview of 'Bio-Engineering: Making and Testing Model Proteins ' Activity

Students learn about human proteins, how their shapes are related to their functions and how DNA protein mutations result in diseases. Then, in a hypothetical engineering scenario, they use common classroom supplies to design and build their own structural, transport and defense protein models to he...

preview of 'Android App Development' Activity

Students develop an app for an Android device that utilizes its built-in internal sensors, specifically the accelerometer. The goal of this activity is to teach programming design and skills using MIT's App Inventor software (free to download from the Internet) as the vehicle for learning.

Welcome to TeachEngineering’s Engineering Design Process curricula for Grade K-2 Educators!

preview of 'Be “Cool” with Popsicle Engineering' Activity

Create popsicles using the engineering design process! In this activity, students work to solve the problems of a local popsicle shop while learning how scientific and engineering concepts play a part in behind-the-scenes design.

preview of 'Design a Better Bandage' Maker Challenge

In this maker challenge, students follow the engineering design process and use water-absorbing crystals to create a bandage that can be used in a traumatic situation, like a car accident or hiking accident.

Maker Challenge

preview of 'Engineering an Animal’s Survival ' Activity

Students perform research and design prosthetic prototypes for an animal to use for its survival. They research a set of pre-chosen animals and their habitats. They then create habitats for their animals to live and model 3D prosthetics for the animals to use with modeling clay.

preview of 'Invent a Backscratcher from Everyday Materials' Activity

Given scrap cardboard, paper towel tubes, scissors, and glue, how could a student invent their own backscratcher? Engage in the process of how real engineers design products to meet a desired function.

preview of 'Keeping Damp in a Drought ' Maker Challenge

Students design a way for mint plants to keep a constant moisture level for 72 hours. The mint plants must be kept moist since they are young and just starting to establish growth.

preview of 'Naturally Organized ' Activity

Design a customized table top supply organizer inspired by the natural home of a ladybug—or any other insect of a student's choosing—to hold all of their classroom supplies! By the end of this activity, students will understand the properties of biomimicry and the engineering design process.

Welcome to TeachEngineering’s Engineering Design Process curricula for Grade 3-5 Educators!

preview of 'Biodomes are Engineered Ecosystems: A Mini World' Lesson

As students learn about the creation of biodomes, they are introduced to the steps of the engineering design process, including guidelines for brainstorming. They learn how engineers are involved in the design and construction of biodomes and use brainstorming to come up with ideas for possible biod...

preview of 'Biohazard Protection Design Project: Suit Up!' Activity

Students learn about providing healthcare in a global setting and the importance of wearing protective equipment when treating patients with infectious diseases like Ebola. They learn about biohazard suits, heat transfer through conduction and convection and the engineering design cycle. Student tea...

preview of 'Build a Toy Workshop' Activity

Working as if they are engineers who work for (the hypothetical) Build-a-Toy Workshop company, students apply their imaginations and the engineering design process to design and build prototype toys with moving parts. They set up electric circuits using batteries, wire and motors. They create plans ...

preview of 'Clean Enough to Drink: Making Devices to Filter Dirty Water' Activity

Whether on Earth or in space, life-threatening illnesses may occur if the water we drink is of poor quality. It’s up to your students to design and build a filtration system for the International Space Station so they can guarantee astronauts get the safe and clean water they need.

preview of 'Constraints: Pop Rockets on a Shoestring Budget' Activity

Your students have been hired to build a pop rocket, but on a tight budget. Engineering design usually has some constraints and you won’t always have access to the materials you think you might need. But through brainstorming and trial and error, a viable rocket launch is definitely possible!

preview of 'Construct and Test Roofs for Different Climates' Activity

In this activity, students design and build model houses, then test them against various climate elements, and then re-design and improve them. Using books, websites and photos, students learn about the different types of roofs found on various houses in different environments throughout the world....

preview of 'Cutting Through Soil' Activity

Students pretend they are agricultural engineers during the colonial period and design a miniature plow that cuts through a "field" of soil. They are introduced to the engineering design process and learn of several famous historical figures who contributed to plow design.

preview of 'Design and Fly a Kite' Activity

Students learn how to use wind energy to combat gravity and create lift by creating their own tetrahedral kites capable of flying. They explore different tetrahedron kite designs, learning that the geometry of the tetrahedron shape lends itself well to kites and wings because of its advantageous str...

preview of 'Design Criteria-to-Working Model: Engineer a Sneaker' Activity

Students learn the basics of engineering sneakers and shoes. They are challenged to decide on specific design requirements, such as heavy traction or extra cushioning, and then use different materials to create working prototype shoes that meet the design criteria. Includes worksheets.

preview of 'Design Your Own Snazzy Sneakers' Maker Challenge

For this maker challenge, students decide on specific design requirements (such as good traction or deep cushioning), sketch their plans, and then use a variety of materials to build prototype shoes that meet the design criteria.

preview of 'Engineering a Habitat’s Humidity ' Activity

Students design a temporary habitat for a future classroom pet—a hingeback tortoise. The students investigate hingeback tortoise habitat features as well as the design features of such a habitat. Each group communicates and presents this information to the rest of the class after they research, brai...

preview of 'Engineering a Mountain Rescue Litter	' Activity

When a person gets injured in the wilderness and needs medical attention, rescuers might use a device called a mountain rescue litter specifically designed for difficult evacuations. Design and build a small-sized prototype to save some (potatoes’) lives!

preview of 'Engineering Derby: Tool Ingenuity' Activity

Student teams are challenged to navigate a table tennis ball through a timed obstacle course using only the provided unconventional “tools.” Teams act as engineers by working through the steps of the engineering design process to complete the overall task with each group member responsible to accomp...

preview of 'Engineering in the World of Dr. Seuss' Activity

Students explore the engineering design process within the context of Dr. Seuss’s book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Students study a sample of aloe vera gel (the oobleck) in lab groups. After analyzing the substance, they use the engineering design process to develop and test other substances to ma...

preview of 'Gone with the Wind Energy: Design-Build-Test Mini Sail Cars! ' Activity

Students explore the use of wind power in the design, construction and testing of "sail cars," which, in this case, are little wheeled carts with masts and sails that are powered by the moving air generated from a box fan. The scientific method is reviewed and reinforced with the use of controls and...

preview of 'Hare and Snail Challenges' Activity

Students engage in the second design challenge of the unit, which is an extension of the maze challenge they solved in the first lesson/activity of this unit. Students extend the ideas learned in the maze challenge with a focus more on the robot design. Specifically, students learn how to design the...

preview of 'Line-Follower Challenge' Activity

Student groups are challenged to program robots with color sensors to follow a black line. Learning both the logic and skills behind programming robots for this challenge helps students improve their understanding of how robots "think" and widens their appreciation for the complexity involved in pro...

preview of 'Master Driver' Activity

As part of a design challenge, students learn how to use a rotation sensor (located inside the casing of a LEGO® MINDSTORMS ® EV3 motor) to measure how far a robot moves with each rotation. Through experimentation and measurement with the sensor, student pairs determine the relationship between the ...

preview of 'Maze Challenge' Activity

As the first engineering design challenge of the unit, students are introduced to the logic for solving a maze. Student groups apply logic to program LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 robots to navigate through a maze, first with no sensors, and then with sensors.

preview of 'Naked Egg Drop' Activity

Student pairs experience the iterative engineering design process as they design, build, test and improve catching devices to prevent a "naked" egg from breaking when dropped from increasing heights. To support their design work, they learn about materials properties, energy types and conservation o...

preview of 'Problem Solve Your School' Activity

Students apply what they have learned about the engineering design process to a real-life problem that affects them and/or their school. They choose a problem as a group, and then follow the engineering design process to come up with and test their design solution.

preview of 'Race to the Top! Modeling Skyscrapers' Activity

Working individually or in pairs, students compete to design, create, test and redesign free-standing, weight-bearing towers using Kapla® wooden blocks. The challenge is to build the tallest tower while meeting the design criteria and minimizing the amount of material used—all within a time limit.

preview of 'Right on Target: Catapult Game' Activity

Students experience the engineering design process as they design and build accurate and precise catapults using common materials. They use their catapults to participate in a game in which they launch Ping-Pong balls to attempt to hit various targets.

preview of 'Sea Turtle Eggs: Washed to Sea? ' Activity

Students employ the full engineering design process to research and design prototypes that could be used to solve the loss of sea turtle life during a hurricane. Students learn about sea turtle nesting behaviors and environmental impacts of hurricanes. Students work collaboratively to build structur...

preview of 'Simulation in Healthcare' Lesson

Students learn how engineering design is applied to solve healthcare problems by using an engineering tool called simulation. While engineering design is commonly used to study and design everything from bridges, factories, airports to space shuttles, the use of engineering design to study healthcar...

preview of 'Straw Towers to the Moon' Activity

Students learn about civil engineers and work through each step of the engineering design process in two mini-activities that prepare them for a culminating challenge to design and build the tallest straw tower possible, given limited time and resources. In the culminating challenge (tallest straw t...

preview of 'Sumobot Challenge' Activity

Students apply their knowledge of constructing and programming LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robots to create sumobots—strong robots capable of pushing other robots out of a ring. To meet the challenge, groups follow the steps of the engineering design process and consider robot structure, weight and gear ratio...

preview of 'Temperature Tells All! Model House Testing for Clean vs. Warm Air' Activity

Students learn about health risks caused by cooking and heating with inefficient stoves inside homes. They simulate the cook stove scenario and follow the engineering design process steps, including iterative trials, to increase warmth inside a building while reducing air quality problems. A student...

preview of 'The Strongest Strongholds' Activity

Students work together in small groups, while competing with other teams, to explore the engineering design process through a tower building challenge. They are given a set of design constraints and then conduct online research to learn basic tower-building concepts. During a two-day process and usi...

preview of 'Time for Design' Lesson

Students are introduced to the engineering design process, focusing on the concept of brainstorming design alternatives. They learn that engineering is about designing creative ways to improve existing artifacts, technologies or processes, or developing new inventions that benefit society.

preview of 'Ultrasonic Sensor Robot Design Project: Don't Bump into Me!' Activity

Students' understanding of how robotic ultrasonic sensors work is reinforced in a design challenge involving LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 robots and ultrasonic sensors. Student groups program their robots to move freely without bumping into obstacles (toy LEGO people).

preview of 'Wind-Powered Sail Cars' Activity

Student pairs design and construct small, wind-powered sail cars using limited quantities of drinking straws, masking tape, paper and beads. Teams compete to see which sail car travels the farthest when pushed by the wind (simulated by the use of an electric fan). Students learn about wind and kinet...

Welcome to TeachEngineering’s Engineering Design Process curricula for Grade 6-8 Educators!

preview of 'Adding Helpful Carrier Devices to Crutches' Maker Challenge

Student teams are challenged to design assistive devices that modify crutches to help people carry things such as books and school supplies. Given a list of constraints, including a device weight limit and minimum load capacity, groups brainstorm ideas and then make detailed plans for their best sol...

preview of 'Algorithmic Remote Rover Programming: Curiosity Killed the App' Lesson

Students gain experience with the software/system design process, closely related to the engineering design process, to solve a problem. The lesson culminates in a hands-on experience with the design process as students simulate the remote control of a rover.

preview of 'Amusement Park Ride: Ups and Downs in Design' Activity

Students design, build and test looping model roller coasters using foam pipe insulation tubing. They learn about potential and kinetic energy as they test and evaluate designs, addressing the task as if they are engineers. Winning designs have the lowest cost and best aesthetics. Three student work...

preview of 'An Assistive Artistic Device' Activity

Students design and develop a useful assistive device for people challenged by fine motor skill development who cannot grasp and control objects. In the process of designing prototype devices, they learn about the engineering design process and how to use it to solve problems.

preview of 'Automatic Floor Cleaner Computer Program Challenge' Activity

Students learn more about assistive devices, specifically biomedical engineering applied to computer engineering concepts, with an engineering challenge to create an automatic floor cleaner computer program. Following the steps of the design process, they design computer programs and test them by pr...

preview of 'Balsa Towers' Activity

Students groups use balsa wood and glue to build their own towers using some of the techniques they learned from the associated lesson.

preview of 'Boat Design Challenge: Journey to the Egyptian Afterlife' Activity

Student teams are challenged to design models of Egyptian funerary barges for the purpose of transporting mummies through the underworld to the afterlife. Students design and build prototypes using materials and tools like the ancient Egyptians had at their disposal.

preview of 'Bouncy Ball Factory ' Maker Challenge

Students become product engineers in a bouncy ball factory as they design and prototype a polymer bouncy ball that meets specific requirements: must be spherical in shape, cannot disintegrate when thrown on the ground, and must bounce.

preview of 'Broken Bones and Biomedical Materials' Activity

Students are introduced to the concept and steps of the engineering design process and taught how to apply it. In small groups, students learn of their design challenge (improve a cast for a broken arm), brainstorm solutions, are given materials and create prototypes.

preview of 'Chair Design' Activity

Students become familiar with the engineering design process as they design, build, and test chair prototypes.

preview of 'Cleaning the Air ' Activity

In this activity, students undertake a similar engineering challenge as they design and build a filter to remove pepper from an air stream without blocking more than 50% of the air.

preview of 'Clearing a Path to the Heart' Activity

Following the steps of the engineering design process and acting as biomedical engineers, student teams use everyday materials to design and develop devices and approaches to unclog blood vessels. Through this open-ended design project, they learn about the circulatory system, biomedical engineering...

preview of 'Cool Puppy! A Doghouse Design Project' Maker Challenge

Students design and build small doghouses to shelter a (toy) puppy from the heat—and create them within constraints. They apply what they know about light energy and how it travels through various materials, as well as how a material’s color affects its light absorption and reflection. They test the...

preview of 'Cooler Design Challenge' Activity

Students learn about convection, conduction, and radiation in order to solve the challenge of designing and building a small insulated cooler with the goal of keeping an ice cube and a Popsicle from melting. This activity uses the engineering design process to build the cooler as well as to measure ...

preview of 'Design a Carrying Device for People Using Crutches ' Activity

Students are given a biomedical engineering challenge, which they solve while following the steps of the engineering design process. In a design lab environment, student groups design, create and test prototype devices that help people using crutches carry things, such as books and school supplies.

preview of 'Design Air Racer Cars Using Tinkercad ' Activity

Students build an electric racer vehicle using Tinkercad to design blades for their racers. Students print their designs using a MakerBot printer. Students race their vehicles to see which design travels the furthest distance in the least amount of time.

preview of 'Design Your Own Pedometer!' Maker Challenge

Students use the engineering design process to design, create, and test a pedometer that keeps track of the number of steps a person takes. This maker challenge exposes students to basic coding, micro:bit processor applications, and how programming and engineering can be used to solve health problem...

preview of 'Designing Polymers to Clean Water' Activity

Students learn how to engineer a design for a polymer brush—a coating consisting of polymers that represents an antifouling polymer brush coating for a water filtration surface.

preview of 'Do the Robot! Programming a RedBot to Dance' Maker Challenge

Students program the drive motors of a SparkFun RedBot with a multistep control sequence—a “dance.” Doing this is a great introduction to robotics and improves overall technical literacy by helping students understand that we use programs to control the motion and function of robots, and without the...

preview of 'Does It Cut It? Understanding Wind Turbine Blade Performance' Activity

Students gain an understanding of the factors that affect wind turbine operation. Following the steps of the engineering design process, engineering teams use simple materials (cardboard and wooden dowels) to build and test their own turbine blade prototypes with the objective of maximizing electric...

preview of 'E.G. Benedict's Ambulance Patient Safety Challenge ' Activity

Students further their understanding of the engineering design process (EDP) while applying researched information on transportation technology, materials science and bioengineering. Students are given a fictional client statement (engineering challenge) and directed to follow the steps of the EDP t...

preview of 'Engineering in Reverse!' Activity

Students learn about the process of reverse engineering and how this technique is used to improve upon technology. Students analyze push-toys and draw diagrams of the predicted mechanisms inside the toys. Then, they disassemble the toys and draw the actual inner mechanisms.

preview of 'Exploring Variables While Testing & Improving Mint-Mobiles (for Middle School)' Activity

Students design, build, and test model race cars made from simple materials (lifesaver-shaped candies, plastic drinking straws, Popsicle sticks, index cards, tape) as a way to explore independent, dependent and control variables.

preview of 'Fancy Feet! Stress & Strain Forces in Shoe Design' Activity

Students use the engineering design process to solve a real-world problem—shoe engineering! Working in small teams, they design, build and test a pair of wearable platform or high-heeled shoes, taking into consideration the stress and strain forces that it will encounter from the shoe wearer.

preview of 'Follow the Light' Activity

Students' understanding of how robotic color sensors work is reinforced in a design challenge involving LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robots and light sensors. Working in pairs, students program LEGO robots to follow a flashlight as its light beam moves around.

preview of 'Future Hospitals: Robotics and Automated Patient Care Engineering' Activity

Students further their understanding of the engineering design process while combining mechanical engineering and bioengineering to create an automated medical device.

preview of 'Hot Cans and Cold Cans' Activity

Students apply the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation as they work in teams to solve two challenges. One problem requires that they maintain the warm temperature of one soda can filled with water at approximately human body temperature, and the other problem is to cause an identical so...

preview of 'Hydraulic Arm Challenge' Activity

Students design and build a mechanical arm that lifts and moves an empty 12-ounce soda can using hydraulics for power. Small design teams (1-2 students each) design and build a single axis for use in the completed mechanical arm.

preview of 'Just Like Kidneys: Semipermeable Membrane Prototypes' Activity

Using ordinary classroom materials, students act as biomedical engineering teams challenged to design prototype models that demonstrate semipermeability to help medical students learn about kidney dialysis. A model consists of two layers of a medium separated by material acting as the membrane. Grou...

preview of 'Keep Your Cool! Design Your Own Cooler Challenge' Maker Challenge

Students brainstorm, design, and build a cooler and monitor its effectiveness to keep a bottle of ice water cold in comparison to a bottle of ice water left at room temperature. Students engage in design by choosing from a range of materials to build their prototype.

preview of 'Lending a Hand: Teaching Forces through Assistive Device Design ' Activity

Students learn about how biomedical engineers create assistive devices for persons with fine motor skill disabilities. They do this by designing, building and testing their own hand "gripper" prototypes that are able to grasp and lift a 200 ml cup of sand.

preview of 'Mars Rover App Creation' Activity

Based on their experience exploring the Mars rover Curiosity and learning about what engineers must go through to develop a vehicle like Curiosity, students create Android apps that can control LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robots, simulating the difficulties the Curiosity rover could encounter. The activity go...

preview of 'No Valve in Vain' Activity

Acting as biomedical engineers, students design, build, test and redesign prototype heart valves using materials such as waterproof tape, plastic tubing, flexible plastic and foam sheets, clay, wire and pipe cleaners. They test them with flowing water, representing blood moving through the heart.

preview of 'Off-Road Wheelchair Challenge' Activity

Students further their understanding of the engineering design process (EDP) while being introduced to assistive technology devices and biomedical engineering. They are given a fictional client statement and are tasked to follow the steps of the EDP to design and build small-scale, off-road wheelcha...

preview of 'Oil: Clean It Up! ' Maker Challenge

Student groups create and test oil spill cleanup kits that are inexpensive and accessible for homeowners or for big companies to give to individual workers—to aid in home, community or environmental oil spill cleanup process.

preview of 'Paper Drop Design Competition' Activity

Using paper, paper clips and tape, student teams design flying/falling devices to stay in the air as long as possible and land as close as possible to a given target. Student teams use the steps of the engineering design process to guide them through the initial conception, evaluation, testing and r...

preview of 'Protect the Pump: Prototyping Designs for Biomedical Devices' Activity

Students learn how biomedical engineers work with engineers and other professionals to develop dependable medical devices. Student teams brainstorm, sketch, design and create prototypes of suction pump protection devices to keep fluid from backing up and ruining the pump motors.

preview of 'Protect Your Body, Filter Your Water!' Activity

Students experience the steps of the engineering design process as they design solutions for a real-world problem that negatively affects the environment. They use plastic tubing and assorted materials such as activated carbon, cotton balls, felt and cloth to create filters with the capability to re...

preview of 'Sensory Toys Make Sense!' Activity

Students design and create sensory integration toys for young children with developmental disabilities—an engineering challenge that combines the topics of biomedical engineering, engineering design and human senses. Students learn the steps of the engineering design process (EDP) and how to use it ...

preview of 'Sled Hockey Design Challenge' Activity

Students are asked to design a hockey stick for a school’s new sled hockey team. Using the engineering design process, students act as material engineers to create hockey sticks that have different interior structures using multiple materials that can withstand flexure testing.

preview of 'Solar Sails: The Future of Space Travel' Activity

Working as if they were engineers, students design and construct model solar sails made of aluminum foil to move cardboard tube satellites through “space” on a string. Working in teams, they follow the engineering design thinking steps—ask, research, imagine, plan, create, test, improve—to design an...

preview of 'Sounds All Around' Activity

Students follow the steps of the engineering design process to create their own ear trumpet devices (used before modern-day hearing aids), including testing them with a set of reproducible sounds.

preview of 'Spaghetti Soapbox Derby' Activity

Student pairs design, build, and test model vehicles capable of rolling down a ramp and then coasting freely as far as possible. The challenge is to make the vehicles entirely out of dry pasta using only adhesive (such as hot glue) to hold the components together.

preview of 'Super Slinger Engineering Challenge' Activity

Students are challenged to design, build and test small-scale launchers while they learn and follow the steps of the engineering design process. For the challenge, the "slingers" must be able to aim and launch Ping-Pong balls 20 feet into a goal using ordinary building materials such as tape, string...

preview of 'Swiss Alps Emergency Sled Design' Activity

Students act as engineers to solve a hypothetical problem that has occurred in the Swiss Alps due to a natural seismic disaster. Working in groups, they follow the engineering design process steps to create model sleds that meet the requirements to transport materials to people in distress that live...

preview of 'The Artificial Bicep' Activity

Students learn more about how muscles work and how biomedical engineers can help keep the muscular system healthy. Following the engineering design process, they create their own biomedical device to aid in the recovery of a strained bicep.

preview of 'Three-Tower Types Challenge: Tower Investigation and the Egg' Activity

In this activity, student groups design and build three types of towers (guyed or cable-supported, free-standing or self-standing, and monopole), engineering them to meet the requirements that they hold an egg one foot high for 15 seconds.

preview of 'Toxic Island: Designing Devices to Deliver Goods' Maker Challenge

A classic engineering challenge involves designing and building devices that can deliver necessary goods to “Toxic Island.” Working within specific constraints, students design a device that must not touch the water or island, and must deliver supplies accurately and quickly.

preview of 'Using Waits, Loops and Switches' Activity

Students are given a difficult challenge that requires they integrate what they have learned so far in the unit about wait blocks, loops and switches. They incorporate these tools into their programming of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robots to perform different tasks depending on input from a sound sensor...

preview of 'Wear’s the Technology?' Activity

Students apply their knowledge of scale and geometry to design wearables that would help people in their daily lives, perhaps for medical reasons or convenience. Like engineers, student teams follow the steps of the design process, to research the wearable technology field (watching online videos an...

preview of 'Wimpy Radar Antenna: Reinforced Tower Test, Analyze & Improve' Activity

Students reinforce an antenna tower made from foam insulation so that it can withstand a 480 N-cm bending moment (torque) and a 280 N-cm twisting moment (torque) with minimal deflection.

preview of 'Wristwatch Design for the Visually Impaired' Activity

Students further their understanding of the engineering design process while combining mechanical engineering and bio-engineering to create assistive devices. During this extended activity (seven class periods), students are given a fictional client statement and required to follow the steps of the ...

Welcome to TeachEngineering’s Engineering Design Process curricula for Grade 9-12 Educators!

preview of 'A Zombie Got My Leg Challenge: Making Makeshift Legs' Activity

Students experience the engineering design process as they design and construct lower-leg prostheses in response to a hypothetical zombie apocalypse scenario. Building on what they learned and researched in the associated lesson, they design and fabricate a replacement prosthetic limb using given sp...

preview of 'Above-Ground Storage Tank Design Project' Activity

In this culminating activity, student groups act as engineering design teams to derive equations to determine the stability of specific above-ground storage tank scenarios with given tank specifications and liquid contents. With their flotation analyses completed and the stability determined, studen...

preview of 'An Implementation of Steganography' Activity

Students apply the design process to the problem of hiding a message in a digital image using steganographic methods, a PictureEdit Java class, and API (provided as an attachment). They identify the problems and limitations associated with this task, brainstorm solutions, select a solution, and impl...

preview of 'Augmented Reality Programming Challenge' Maker Challenge

Students explore augmented reality programs, including muscle and bone overlays and body tracking recording program, using Unity and Microsoft Visual Studio and develop ways to modify, enhance, and redesign the program to meet a particular real-world need.

preview of 'Boom Construction' Activity

Student teams design their own booms (bridges) and engage in a friendly competition with other teams to test their designs. Each team strives to design a boom that is light, can hold a certain amount of weight, and is affordable to build.

preview of 'Build Your Own Night-Light with Arduino' Maker Challenge

Students use Arduino microcontrollers and light-sensitive resistors (photocells) to sense the ambient light levels in a room and turn LEDs on and off based on those readings. They are challenged to personalize their basic night-lights with the use of more LEDs, if/else statements and voltage divider...

preview of 'Building Arduino Light Sculptures' Maker Challenge

Students gain practice in Arduino fundamentals as they design their own small-sized prototype light sculptures to light up a hypothetical courtyard. They program Arduino microcontrollers to control the lighting behavior of at least three light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to create imaginative light displ...

preview of 'Control a Servo with Your Phone Using Bluetooth!' Maker Challenge

Students learn how to control an Arduino servo wirelessly using a simple phone application, Bluetooth module and an Android phone. This prepares them to wirelessly control their own projects.

preview of 'Convertible Shoes: Function, Fashion and Design' Activity

Student teams design and build shoe prototypes that convert between high heels and athletic shoes. They apply their knowledge about the mechanics of walking and running as well as shoe design (as learned in the associated lesson) to design a multifunctional shoe that is both fashionable and function...

preview of 'Create and Control a Popsicle Stick Finger Robot' Maker Challenge

Students use servos and flex sensors to make simple, one-jointed, finger robots. They use Arduino microcontrollers, create circuits and write code to read finger flexes and send angle info to servos. They explore the constrain, map and smoothing commands. Can teams combine fingers to create an entir...

preview of 'Creating Mini Wastewater Treatment Plants' Activity

Student teams design, construct, test and improve small working models of water treatment plant processes to filter out contaminants and reclaim resources from simulated wastewater. They keep to a materials budget and earn money from reclaimed materials. They conduct before/after water quality tests...

preview of 'Design a Bicycle Helmet' Activity

Students are introduced to the biomechanical characteristics of helmets, and are challenged to incorporate them into designs for helmets used for various applications.

preview of 'Design Your Own Nano-Polymer Smartphone Case' Maker Challenge

Students design and create their own nano-polymer smartphone case. Students choose their design, mix their nano-polymer (based in silicone) with starch and add coloring of their choice. While students think critically about their design, they embed strings in the nano-polymer material to optimize bo...

preview of 'Designing a Robotic Surgical Device' Activity

Student teams create laparoscopic surgical robots designed to reduce the invasiveness of diagnosing endometriosis and investigate how the disease forms and spreads. Using a synthetic abdominal cavity simulator, students test and iterate their remotely controlled, camera-toting prototype devices, whi...

preview of 'Designing an Elliptical Pool Table' Activity

Students learn about the mathematical characteristics and reflective property of ellipses by building their own elliptical-shaped pool tables. After a slide presentation introduction to ellipses, student “engineering teams” follow the steps of the engineering design process to develop prototypes, wh...

preview of 'Does My Model Valve Stack up to the Real Thing?' Activity

Following the steps of the iterative engineering design process, student teams use what they learned in the previous lessons and activity in this unit to research and choose materials for their model heart valves and test those materials to compare their properties to known properties of real heart ...

preview of 'Energy Storage Derby and Proposal' Activity

Students design, build and test small-sized vehicle prototypes that transfer various types of potential energy into motion. To complete the Go Public phase of the legacy cycle, students demonstrate their understanding of how potential energy may be transferred into kinetic energy.

preview of 'Engineering Self-Cleaning Hydrophobic Surfaces ' Maker Challenge

Students explore how to modify surfaces such as wood or cotton fabric at the nanoscale. They create specialized materials with features such as waterproofing and stain resistance. The challenge starts with student teams identifying an intended user and developing scenarios for using their developed ...

preview of 'Exploiting Polarization: Designing More Effective Sunglasses' Activity

Students apply their understanding of light polarization and attenuation to design, fabricate, test and refine their own prototype sunglasses that better reduce glare and lower light intensity compared to available sunglasses, and better protect eyes from UVA and UVB radiation. They meet the project...

preview of 'Exploring Variables While Testing & Improving Mint-Mobiles (for High School) ' Activity

High school students design, build, and test model race cars made from simple materials (lifesaver-shaped candies, plastic drinking straws, Popsicle sticks, index cards, tape) as a way to explore independent, dependent and control variables.

preview of 'Flying T-Shirts' Activity

During this engineering design/build project, students investigate many different solutions to a problem. Their design challenge is to find a way to get school t-shirts up into the stands during home sporting events. They follow the steps of the engineering design process to design and build a usabl...

preview of 'Having a Ball with Chemistry and Engineering' Maker Challenge

Students work as materials and chemical engineers to develop a bouncy ball using a select number of materials. They develop a plan of what materials they might need to design their product, and then create, test, and evaluate their bouncy ball.

preview of 'Heat Flow and Diagrams Lab' Activity

Student pairs design, redesign and perform simple experiments to test the differences in thermal conductivity (heat flow) through different media (foil and thin steel). Then students create visual diagrams of their findings that can be understood by anyone with little background on the subject, appl...

preview of 'How to Design a Better Smartphone Case' Activity

Students follow the steps of the engineering design process to design an improved smartphone case. As if they are materials engineers, they evaluate how to build a smartphone case and study physical properties, chemical properties, and tessellations. They analyze materials, design and improve a prot...

preview of 'Introduction to Arduino: Getting Connected and Blinking LEDs' Maker Challenge

Students learn how to connect Arduino microcontroller boards to computers and write basic code to blink LEDs. Provided steps guide students through the connection process, troubleshooting common pitfalls and writing their first Arduino programs. Then they independently write their own code to blink ...

preview of 'Make a Sticky-Note Fan with Arduino' Maker Challenge

Students control small electric motors using Arduino microcontrollers to make little spinning fans made with folded and glued paper sticky notes. They build basic circuits and modify code, before applying the principles to create their own more-complicated motor-controlled projects. Advanced project...

preview of 'Making Dirty Water Drinkable! ' Maker Challenge

Students create a water bottle from common materials used in purification tools that can clean dirty water as an inexpensive alternative to a modern filter. Students may iterate upon their design based off their experiment and the designs of their classmates after initial testing.

preview of 'Making Sense of Sensors: Visualizing Sensor Data' Maker Challenge

Students take on the challenge of assembling a light sensor circuit in order to observe its readings using the Arduino Serial Monitor. They also create their own unique visualization through software called Processing. They learn how to use calibration and smoothing along the way to capture a better...

preview of 'Measure the Milky Way with Stars ' Maker Challenge

Students investigate Python and Jupyter Notebook to analyze real astronomical images in order to calculate the interstellar distance to a star cluster across the Milky Way from our own Solar System. They learn how to write Python code that runs in a Jupyter Notebook so they can determine the brightn...

preview of 'Mouse Trap Racing in the Computer Age! ' Activity

Students design, build and evaluate a spring-powered mouse trap racer. For evaluation, teams equip their racers with an intelligent brick from a LEGO© MINDSTORMS© EV3 Education Core Set and a HiTechnic© acceleration sensor.

preview of 'Packed for Shipping: Using Linear Regression in Engineering Design' Activity

Students apply their knowledge of linear regression and design to solve a real-world challenge to create a better packing solution for shipping cell phones. They make composite material packaging containers using cardboard, fabric, plastic, paper and/or rubber bands to create four different-weight p...

preview of 'Power Your House with Wind' Activity

Students learn how engineers harness the energy of the wind to produce power by following the engineering design process as they prototype two types of wind turbines and test to see which works best. Students also learn how engineers decide where to place wind turbines, and the advantages and disadv...

preview of 'Proof of Concept: Miracle Drug Encapsulation' Activity

Students experience the engineering design process as they design, fabricate, test and redesign their own methods for encapsulation of a (hypothetical) new miracle drug. The objective is to delay the drug release by a certain time and have a long release duration—patterned after the timed release re...

preview of 'Pump It! Design-Build-Test Helpful Village Water Pumps' Activity

In this hands-on activity, student groups design, build, test and improve devices to pump water as if they were engineers helping a rural village meet their drinking water supply. Students keep track of their materials costs, and calculate power and cost efficiencies of the prototype pumps.

preview of 'Redesigning a Classroom for the Visually Impaired' Activity

Students practice human-centered design by imagining, designing and prototyping a product to improve classroom accessibility for the visually impaired. Student teams follow the steps of the engineering design process to formulate their ideas, draw them by hand and using free, online Tinkercad softwa...

preview of 'RGB Color Mixing' Maker Challenge

Students write Arduino code and use a “digital sandbox” to create new colors out of the three programming primary colors: green, red and blue. They develop their own functions, use them to make disco light shows, and vary the pattern and colors of their shows.

preview of 'Shantytown Construction Redesign' Activity

Student teams each design, build and test a composite material for use as a concrete building block for shantytown use. The design challenge constraints include: using inexpensive and readily available materials, chemically resistant, physically durable, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing. Th...

preview of 'Simple Machines and the Rube Goldberg Challenge' Maker Challenge

Students research and learn about simple machines and other mechanisms through learning about a Rube Goldberg machine. Student teams design and build their own Rube Goldberg devices that incorporate at least six simple machines. This project is open-ended with much potential for creativity and fun.

preview of 'Solar Water: Heat it Up!' Activity

Students explore energy efficiency, focusing on renewable energy, by designing and building flat-plate solar water heaters. They calculate the efficiency of the solar water heaters during initial and final tests and compare the efficiencies to those of models currently sold on the market (requiring ...

preview of 'Splash, Pop, Fizz: Rube Goldberg Machines' Activity

Refreshed with an understanding of the six simple machines; screw, wedge, pully, incline plane, wheel and axle, and lever, student groups receive materials and an allotted amount of time to act as mechanical engineers to design and create machines that can complete specified tasks.

preview of 'Stop the Flopping: Designing Soccer Shin Guards' Maker Challenge

Students engineer a working pair of shin guards for soccer or similar contact sport from everyday materials. Since many factors go into the design of a shin guard, students follow the engineering design process to create a prototype.

preview of 'Storing Android Accelerometer Data: App Design' Lesson

Students work through an online tutorial on MIT's App Inventor to learn how to create Android applications. Using those skills, they create their own applications and use them to collect data from an Android device accelerometer and store that data to databases.

preview of 'The Glow Show Slime Engineering Challenge' Maker Challenge

Students learn about the engineering design process and how products may be reinvented to serve new purposes. Working in groups, students design a type of slime. After creating their slime, the teacher turns out the lights and the students see that the slime they made actually glows in the dark!

preview of 'The Lunch-Bot' Activity

Students are challenged to design and program Arduino-controlled robots that behave like simple versions of the automated guided vehicles engineers design for real-world applications. Using Arduino microcontroller boards, infrared (IR) sensors, servomotors, attachable wheels and plastic containers (...

preview of 'The Power of Food' Activity

Students imagine they are stranded on an island and must create the brightest light possible with the meager supplies they have on hand in order to gain the attention of a rescue airplane. In small groups, students create circuits using items in their "survival kits" to create maximum voltage, measu...

preview of 'Truss Destruction ' Activity

Students work within constraints to construct model trusses and then test them to failure as a way to evaluate the relative strength of different truss configurations and construction styles. Within each group, each student builds two exact copies of the team's truss configuration using his/her own ...

preview of 'T-Shirt Launcher' Maker Challenge

Students are challenged to find a way to get school t-shirts up into the stands during sporting events. They work with a real client (if possible, such as a cheerleading squad, booster club or band) to determine the requirements and constraints that would make the project a success, including a budg...

preview of 'Visualize Your Heartbeat' Maker Challenge

Biomedical engineers design, create, and test health technology that measure all sorts of physical functions in the body, including heartbeat. Students play the role of biomedical engineers in this activity and create a device that helps visualize heartbeats.

preview of 'Whatever Floats Your Boat! ' Maker Challenge

Students use a variety of common office and household supplies to design a boat. Their goal: to not only design the fastest boat, but also take into account how much mass or “cargo” the boat can carry, the stability of the boat in the water, the total mass of the boat, boat aesthetics, and how much ...

preview of 'Wind Chimes' Activity

Students are challenged to design and build wind chimes using their knowledge of physics and sound waves, and under given constraints such as weight, cost and number of musical notes it must generate.

preview of 'Wirelessly Control Lights and Motors Using XBee Communication!' Maker Challenge

Students learn how to send signals (such as from buttons or sensors) from one system to another using XBee radio communication modules. By activity end, they are able to control LEDs and motors wirelessly using Arduino microcontrollers and XBee shields. Introduces the concept of the Internet of thin...

research on engineering design process

  • Open access
  • Published: 08 January 2021

Effects of infusing the engineering design process into STEM project-based learning to develop preservice technology teachers’ engineering design thinking

  • Kuen-Yi Lin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6250-0540 1 ,
  • Ying-Tien Wu 2 ,
  • Yi-Ting Hsu 3 &
  • P. John Williams 4  

International Journal of STEM Education volume  8 , Article number:  1 ( 2021 ) Cite this article

26k Accesses

66 Citations

1 Altmetric

Metrics details

This study focuses on probing preservice technology teachers’ cognitive structures and how they construct engineering design in technology-learning activities and explores the effects of infusing an engineering design process into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) project-based learning to develop preservice technology teachers’ cognitive structures for engineering design thinking.

The study employed a quasi-experimental design, and twenty-eight preservice technology teachers participated in the teaching experiment. The flow-map method and metalistening technique were utilized to enable preservice technology teachers to create flow maps of engineering design, and a chi-square test was employed to analyze the data. The results suggest that (1) applying the engineering design process to STEM project-based learning is beneficial for developing preservice technology teachers’ schema of design thinking, especially with respect to clarifying the problem, generating ideas, modeling, and feasibility analysis, and (2) it is important to encourage teachers to further explore the systematic concepts of engineering design thinking and expand their abilities by merging the engineering design process into STEM project-based learning.

Conclusions

The findings of this study provide initial evidence on the effects of infusing the engineering design process into STEM project-based learning to develop preservice technology teachers’ engineering design thinking. However, further work should focus on exploring how to overcome the weaknesses of preservice technology teachers’ engineering design thinking by adding a few elements of engineering design thinking pedagogy, e.g., designing learning activities that are relevant to real life.

Introduction

An increasing number of position papers and empirical studies have focused on exploring the issues of engineering design thinking (Brand, 2020 ; English & King, 2015 ). With regard to the cognitive structure of technology teachers in engineering design, Atman et al. ( 2007 ) studied the differences between expert practitioners and students during the engineering design process. They proposed that students should pay more attention to problem scoping, information gathering, and decision-making as they develop their cognitive structures and schematic processes in engineering design. Furthermore, when Hynes ( 2012 ) investigated how middle school teachers understood and taught the process of engineering design, he found that technology teachers frequently exhibit sophisticated thinking during two particular steps of engineering design: constructing a prototype and redesigning. In a study about the performance of high school students in engineering design subjects, Fan, Yu, and Lou ( 2018 ) noted that students’ abilities in predictive analysis and testing/revising are key factors in determining their thinking in engineering design. Sung and Kelley ( 2018 ) performed a sequential analysis study on the design thinking of fourth-grade elementary students and found that idea generation plays an important role throughout their design thinking process. These studies suggest that students and teachers at different levels focus on different parts of the design process: idea generation is the most important part of the process for elementary school students; predictive analysis and testing/revising are more important for high school students; and technology teachers tend to focus on prototype construction and redesign. Therefore, the differences between engineering experts and beginners in the engineering design process do not necessarily correspond to what technology teachers emphasize in their engineering design teaching. Furthermore, there is a lack of research on the cognitive structures and engineering design foci of preservice technology teachers, which is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

In addition to engineering design thinking, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has also received considerable attention in recent years. The notion of STEM itself and how its disciplines should be integrated are open to debate (English & King, 2019 ), and attracting appropriately qualified people to study and work in STEM areas is an urgent need (Holmes, Gore, Smith, & Lloyd, 2017 ). Various definitions of STEM education have ranged from disciplinary to transdisciplinary approaches, but from a broad perspective, it can be defined as follows: “STEM education is used to identify activities involving any of the four areas, a STEM-related course, or an interconnected or integrated program of study” (English, 2017 ). Strimel and Grubbs ( 2016 ) noted that technology and engineering are often neglected in secondary-school STEM education, and this neglect perpetuates the educational system’s shortcomings in nurturing technology and engineering talent. In view of this problem, Song et al. ( 2016 ) and Brophy, Klein, Portsmore, and Rogers ( 2008 ) agreed that STEM education implementation can be improved by planning technology-learning activities (such as hands-on activities) that incorporate engineering design so that students can obtain comprehensive cross-disciplinary experience. That is, students will have more chances to apply STEM knowledge and competency in solving problems or meeting needs instead of focusing on learning specific subject matter and neglecting the application of that knowledge (Lin, Hsiao, Williams, & Chen, 2020 ). In addition, many studies have found that technology-learning activities based on engineering design enhance learning in STEM. For example, English and King ( 2019 ) reported students’ responses to designing and constructing a paper bridge that could withstand an optimal load. Their results showed that students’ sketches indicated an awareness of the problem constraints, an understanding of basic engineering principles, and the application of mathematics and science knowledge.

Based on this line of reasoning, technology-learning activities that incorporate engineering design should be useful for implementing STEM education. However, the implementation of teaching activities oriented toward engineering design requires teachers who have a strong conceptual understanding of engineering design. Therefore, investigations of this aspect are important from an academic and practical perspective. For example, in studies about engineering design, some common concerns are the cognitive structures of expert practitioners in engineering design (Atman et al., 2007 ) and the characterization of the engineering design process (Hannah, Joshi, & Summers, 2012 ); the findings of these studies are usually applied in different educational settings (Capobianco & Rupp, 2014 ; Fan, Yu, & Lin, 2020 ). Therefore, if technology teachers are to implement STEM education using the processes of technology-learning activities based upon engineering design, the teachers’ own cognitive structure of engineering design is of great significance. A cognitive structure is a hypothetical construct showing the extent of concepts and their relationships in a learner’s long-term memory (Shavelson, 1974 ). Through probing technology teachers’ cognitive structures, technology teacher educators can understand what knowledge technology teachers have already acquired. In addition, it is a fundamental step toward acquiring evidence of technology teachers’ cognitive structure in order to explore how technology teachers construct engineering design in technology-learning activities (Wu & Tsai, 2005 ).

One of the primary objectives of the Taiwan Technology Curriculum in 12-year compulsory education is to ensure that secondary school students possess basic competencies in engineering design thinking before they enter university-level engineering institutes (Ministry of Education, 2018 ). This sounds like a prevocational approach, as engineering design thinking is relevant only to students who progress to engineering education. If the Technology Curriculum is a general curriculum for all students, then the rationale should be that engineering design thinking is good for all students. The aforementioned studies suggest that the cognitive structures of technology teachers in engineering design will affect their use of technological pedagogical approaches oriented toward engineering design and thus determine the quality of STEM education implementation. To address this gap in the literature, this study focuses on the cognitive structure of preservice technology teachers in engineering design to probe their understanding of engineering design thinking. We will describe the current status and issues related to the way preservice technology teachers apply cognitive structure to engineering design. The findings of this study will help preservice technology teachers incorporate engineering design processes into their technology teaching activities. This, in turn, could foster engineering design capabilities in secondary school students and their interest in engineering-related areas. More specifically, the primary research questions of this study are as follows: (1) How does the incorporation of engineering design processes into STEM project-based learning benefit the training of preservice technology teachers in terms of their cognitive structure in engineering design thinking? (2) What are the weaknesses in the cognitive structure of preservice technology teachers in engineering design thinking?

Theoretical framework

To explore the gap in engineering design thinking in the literature, the following literature review focuses on exploring engineering design thinking and related studies. Furthermore, to develop the theoretical basis for STEM project-based learning combined with the engineering design process, the following literature review also focuses on analyzing the related studies and proposing the key elements in developing a STEM project learning curriculum.

  • Engineering design thinking

Many scholars in the field of technology and engineering education believe that engineering design thinking is a basic competency in engineering and that this mode of thinking should be given priority in secondary and tertiary education (Atman et al., 2007 ; Dym, Agogino, Eris, Frey, & Leifer, 2005 ). According to Dym et al. ( 2005 ), “Engineering design is a systematic, intelligent process in which designers generate, evaluate, and specify concepts for devices, systems, or processes whose form and function achieve clients’ objectives or users’ needs while satisfying a specified set of constraints.” The cultivation of engineering design thinking can encourage students to develop an inquisitive mindset, approach problems from multiple perspectives, and question existing norms.

Recent studies on engineering design thinking have generally focused on either the processes of this form of thinking or the difference between engineering design experts and university-level engineering students in terms of engineering design thinking. A variety of design thinking processes have been proposed by researchers in this area. Atman et al. ( 2007 ) proposed that the engineering design process proceeds as follows: (1) problem definition, (2) information gathering, (3) idea generation, (4) modeling, (5) feasibility analysis, (6) evaluation, (7) decision, (8) communication, (9) implementation, and (10) design revision. Similarly, Hynes ( 2012 ) proposed a slightly different engineering design process: (1) identify need or problem, (2) research need or problem, (3) develop possible solutions, (4) select best possible solution, (5) construct a prototype, (6) test and evaluate solution, (7) communicate the solution, and (8) redesign. The main differences between the engineering design thinking process and the problem-solving process are a greater emphasis on modeling and feasibility analysis in the former. In other words, in the problem-solving process, students may not as thoroughly evaluate the viability of each idea when choosing the optimal solution. However, the appropriate use of modeling and feasibility analyses can improve students’ capacity to evaluate ideas, and this is one of the most important features of the engineering design thinking process.

The engineering design thinking processes proposed by Atman, Cardella, Turns, and Adams ( 2005 ) and Hynes ( 2012 ) include a communication step after the decision step. Even after modeling and feasibility analyses have been conducted and an optimal solution has been selected, it is still necessary to communicate with a client to confirm the final solution and make further adjustments to the solution to address any questions or problems. The purpose of this step is to confirm that a client’s needs are met and to ensure that all team members understand the final solution. The above analysis also shows that there are certain differences between design thinking processes and problem-solving processes.

Research on engineering design thinking

Interested in cultivating engineering design thinking in university and secondary school students (Wind, Alemdar, Lingle, Moore, & Asilkalkan, 2019 ), many researchers have examined the differences in design thinking processes between expert and novice engineers when faced with an engineering problem. For example, Atman et al. ( 2005 ), Atman et al. ( 2007 ), and Lammi and Becker ( 2013 ) used engineering problems such as the design of a playground for a fictitious neighborhood and the construction of a ping-pong-ball launcher to investigate the engineering design thinking of engineering experts and students. The most important findings of these studies are as follows: (1) expert engineers ask many more questions than students do during the problem-definition step, and some of these questions (15%) are highly specific and based on close scrutiny; (2) during the information-gathering step, expert engineers collect vast amounts of differentiated data, whereas beginners gather only small amounts of localized data and spend a relatively small amount of time on this step; and (3) during the decision step, expert engineers use mathematical calculations and theoretical methods to support their decisions, whereas beginners tend to rely more on intuition.

In a study on the engineering design processes of expert engineers, high school freshmen, and high school seniors, Atman et al. ( 2007 ) found that experts spend significantly more time on the information gathering, feasibility analysis, evaluation, and decision-making steps than high school students do. They also found that high school seniors spend more time on idea generation, feasibility analysis, and decision-making than high school freshmen do. Thus, this study revealed differences between experts and high school students in engineering design processes. Although the study focused mainly on analyzing the amount of time spent on each step of the engineering task, it quantified some of the differences between experts and high school students in engineering design processes. In studies about technology and engineering teachers, Hynes ( 2012 ) examined the understanding and teaching of the engineering design process by middle school teachers. The most significant finding of this study was that technology teachers often display sophisticated thinking during two particular steps of the engineering design process—constructing a prototype and redesigning.

Overall, expert engineers usually spend more time on each step of the design process than students do; technology teachers generally apply complex thinking while creating prototypes during redesign; and experts ask more questions, perform more research, and conduct more testing than students. The implication is that experience leads to a more mature engineering design thought process. It is important to pay attention to these findings when nurturing future engineering design talent. Despite these related studies, it is not enough for research on engineering design thinking to explore the engineering design process of expert or novice engineers. If we wish to empower teachers to feel more confident in developing and delivering robust engineering-related curricula, we must first explore teachers’ existing cognitive structures. Therefore, the definitions, system concepts, examples, and advanced system-concept explanations of the engineering design process are explored in this study.

STEM project-based learning combined with engineering design

Many engineering design studies have considered how research findings can be converted into tools for engineering pedagogy to provide an education that nurtures the cognitive skills of students and their ability to fuse theory and practice (Borgford-Parnell, Deibel, & Atman, 2010 ). For the purpose of this study, STEM project-based learning combined with the engineering design process (EDP-STEM-PBL) may be described as a mode of pedagogy that purposefully situates scientific and mathematical knowledge within the context of technological design to create a problem-solving learning environment in which students envision solutions to design challenges, gather information, and solve real problems through the use of the engineering design process (Sanders, 2009 ; Wahono, Lin, & Chang, 2020 ). This approach is expected to improve student competitiveness in the burgeoning knowledge economy. STEM education has already been emphasized in education systems in the USA. Bybee ( 2013 ) stressed that integrative STEM education should pay attention to globally important issues (e.g., climate change, energy sources) and develop design capabilities through practical technology and engineering activities, paying special attention to theory-based design. The aim of this cross-disciplinary approach is to simultaneously teach rigorous academic concepts and provide experiential, real-world learning opportunities. Therefore, EDP-STEM-PBL can be used to systematically cultivate the scientific, technological, mathematical, and engineering knowledge of students through the engineering design thinking process, thus expanding students’ perspectives and mitigating the lack of practicality in conventional pedagogy, which tends to overemphasize theoretical learning. EDP-STEM-PBL repurposes engineering design studies into pedagogical tools for teaching engineering design.

In conventional pedagogy, intuition is often used to solve problems. However, applying analytical strategies and explicit step-by-step processes to ordinary problems often results in better solutions (Baumann & Kuhl, 2002 ). Therefore, EDP-STEM-PBL calls for the formation of learning groups that take full responsibility for their learning, and learning goals are achieved through cooperation and sharing among team members (Milentijevic, Ciric, & Vojinovic, 2008 ). In this study, the engineering design process proposed by Atman et al. ( 2007 ) was used to develop STEM project-based learning activities, with an emphasis on the steps of prototype construction and redesign, as suggested by Hynes ( 2012 ). In this way, we hope to cultivate the engineering design skills needed by preservice technology teachers and to facilitate sophisticated thinking skills in preservice teachers.

Research methods

Research design.

To investigate the effects of EDP-STEM-PBL on the engineering design thinking of preservice technology teachers, we used a pretest-posttest nonequivalent groups design (see Table 1 ). The STEM project used in this study was the mousetrap car. All preservice technology teachers received 12 periods (50 min/period) of mousetrap car activity training courses over 6 weeks. The courses were intended to improve the preservice teachers’ understanding of STEM knowledge about mousetrap cars, e.g., friction, Newton’s first law of motion, material processing, engineering graphics, the definition and process of engineering design, and the Pythagorean theorem. They were then asked to design and construct a mousetrap car that could travel more than 10 m on a 1-m-wide track. During the activity, the experimental group was taught using an EDP-STEM-PBL curriculum, and the control group was taught using a STEM-PBL curriculum based on the technological problem-solving process (PS-STEM-PBL). The differences between the two curricula are described below.

Since this study focused mainly on the cognitive structure used by preservice technology teachers in engineering design thinking, this study followed Tsai and Huang’s ( 2002 ) suggestion in using the flow-map method to explore preservice technology teachers’ cognitive structure and avoid the limitations of free word association, controlled work association, tree construction, and concept mapping. The research subjects (preservice technology teachers) were interviewed before and after the experimental teaching course; that is, for the pretest, the preservice teachers were interviewed before the 12 periods of mousetrap car activity training courses, and for the posttest, they were interviewed after the training courses. The flow-map method was then used to analyze their cognitive structures in engineering design thinking, enabling us to identify how the preservice technology teachers developed and changed their cognitive approaches to engineering design thinking through the experimental curriculum. Finally, the learning performance of the preservice technology teachers in the experimental and control groups was examined by employing the flow-map method to analyze the engineering design thinking of the research subjects from each group. In this way, our study provided insight into how different curricula affected the actual performance of preservice technology teachers in a STEM-PBL environment. We used these findings to develop recommendations for EDP-STEM-PBL pedagogy that can serve as a reference for teaching science and technology in the future.

There were similarities and differences between the “engineering design process” and “problem-solving process” curricula as taught to the experimental and control groups.

The researcher was responsible for designing and teaching the EDP group and PS group curriculum. This curriculum is one of the major units of “Introduction to Industrial Technology Education,” but the students’ performances do not influence their final grades. The researcher introduced the background of this study and the definition and application of the engineering design process to both groups to enable them to understand the importance of applying the EDP in activity. The experimental group’s engineering design process curriculum (EDP-STEM-PBL) included such engineering design processes as modeling, feasibility analysis, and group communication; the curriculum began with information gathering according to the problem definition, followed by feasibility analyses based on the problem constraints and then the selection of a solution and construction of a prototype. In contrast, the control group’s technological problem-solving process included problem definition, data collection, feasible idea development, best idea selection, best idea implementation, results evaluation, and design idea revision. The process began with the development of knowledge and problem-solving skills that created a link between the problem and the students’ cognitive structures; this was followed by experimental analysis to verify the students’ hypotheses.

Problem framework

In the experimental group (EDP-STEM-PBL), the problem features were described in a qualitative and highly detailed manner to encourage a search for the most feasible solution. Additionally, this curriculum provided an integrated, cross-disciplinary learning experience (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to help the subjects develop high-level cognitive abilities (e.g., design, innovation, and critical thinking) in STEM areas. In the control group (PS-STEM-PBL), the problems were addressed using existing experience, concepts, and techniques in conjunction with a variety of ideas, leading the subjects to find and implement solutions appropriate to the current problem.

Research subjects

The subjects of this study were 28 freshmen/preservice technology teachers who were being trained at the National Taiwan Normal University to specialize in technology education. They had similar engineering-related experience in their pre-engineering technology education courses at the senior high school level due to the national technology curriculum guidelines. All preservice technology teachers must take a required course named “Introduction to Industrial Technology Education.” To ensure that they understood the importance of hands-on learning, a mousetrap car activity was arranged in this course as a key technology-learning activity (see Fig. 1 ). Fifteen preservice technology teachers were randomly assigned to the experimental group and taught using an EDP-STEM-PBL curriculum, and the thirteen remaining teachers were randomly assigned to the control group and taught using a PS-STEM-PBL curriculum. The National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) was selected as the site of this study because it was mainly a secondary school technology teacher training university before it diversified its teacher development programs. The NTNU has a long history of teacher education, and it is presently the main source of secondary school technology teachers in Taiwan. Hence, conducting our study at this university could directly improve teacher education curricula and help equip preservice teachers with engineering design thinking capabilities.

figure 1

Example of a mousetrap car

Research tools

In representing individual cognitive structure, the flow-map method may be the most useful method for representing the cognitive structure (Tsai & Huang, 2002 ). Anderson and Demetrius ( 1993 ) argued that the flow-map method requires minimal intervention by the interviewer and little inference in its construction (Wu & Tsai, 2005 ). In this study, we conducted in-depth, semistructured interviews to enable us to use the flow-map method to characterize the cognitive structures of preservice teachers in terms of engineering design thinking. After the audio-recorded interview, a “metalistening” technique was followed for the purpose of exploring the preservice technology teachers’ additional conceptual knowledge. The researchers could immediately replay the interview recordings to provide an opportunity for the preservice technology teachers to recall additional concepts of engineering design that they had not previously disclosed. The preservice technology teachers’ responses to the metalistening technique were also audio recorded by a second recorder. Thus, the interviews could be transcribed verbatim to produce a flow map representing the cognitive structures of the preservice technology teachers in this study (Wu & Tsai, 2005 ). The interview questions in this study were largely based on the questions designed by Tsai and Huang ( 2002 ) for in-depth, semistructured interviews. We used the following questions to probe the subjects’ cognitive structures about engineering design thinking: (1) Could you tell me whether you have used the engineering design thinking process to solve an engineering problem? (2) Please tell me more about the concepts you have just mentioned. (3) Could you explain how the concepts you mentioned are connected to each other? (4) Do you have anything to add to that explanation? To ensure that this research tool was effective, we drafted the interview questions according to the research tools of other, related studies; invited experts on the flow-map method to check our questions; and revised our questions accordingly.

Data analysis

Both quantitative and qualitative data analyses were performed in this study. First, we drafted a flow map based on the interview recordings, and then, after discussion and analysis of the flow map through consensus evaluation, we conducted a quantitative analysis of the flow map to identify gaps and weaknesses in the cognitive structures of preservice technology teachers in engineering design thinking. The data analysis steps of the flow maps were as follows: (1) we interviewed the preservice technology teachers and produced the interview recordings, coupled with the metalistening technique; (2) the interviews were transcribed verbatim into flow maps based on the process proposed by Wu and Tsai ( 2005 ); and (3) two researchers adopted the consensus evaluation method in analyzing the flow maps and producing the quantitative data of the preservice technology teachers’ performance in engineering design thinking, which included the following criteria: (1) defining engineering design thinking: a correct definition is assigned a value of 1, and an incorrect or no definition is assigned a value of 0; (2) overall system concepts in engineering design thinking: two researchers discussed the flow maps, decided which steps had been mentioned, and calculated the total number of steps; (3) individual system concepts in engineering design thinking; the two researchers discussed the flow maps and decided which steps had been mentioned. Steps that were mentioned are assigned a value of 1; otherwise, the value is 0; (4) providing examples of engineering design thinking: providing correct examples is assigned a value of 1, and incorrect or no examples are assigned a value of 0; (5) explanations of advanced system concepts (overall): the two researchers discussed the flow maps, decided which steps had further explanations and calculated the total number of steps; (6) explaining system concepts (individual): the two researchers discussed the flow maps and decided which steps had further explanations. Steps that were mentioned are assigned a value of 1; otherwise, the value is 0. By applying the consensus evaluation, the two researchers could come to an exact agreement on the preservice technology teachers’ performance in engineering design thinking and share a common interpretation of the construct (Stemler, 2004 ).

In summary, the interviews were transcribed verbatim, and a flow map (see Figs. 2 , 3 , and 4 ) was drafted using this verbatim transcript (Tsai & Huang, 2002 ). To analyze the flow maps, the two researchers involved in this work conducted a consensus evaluation on the flow maps and discussed the verbatim transcripts of the preservice technology teachers’ interviews in their flow maps to assess the subjects’ performance in relation to definitions, system concepts, examples, and advanced system-concept explanations of engineering design thinking and generate quantitative data. “Definitions” refers to the ability of a preservice technology teacher (PTT) to clearly explain the meaning of the engineering design process. “System concepts” refers to a PTT’s procedural knowledge (i.e., ability to explain each step of the engineering design process). “Examples” refers to the ability of a PTT to provide examples of each step in the engineering design process and the application of these steps. “Advanced system-concept explanations” refers to the ability of a PTT to use correct conceptual knowledge to explain how the engineering design process is used to solve a problem. In addition, to analyze the differences between the experimental and control groups, we conducted a chi-square test to compare their cognitive structures and suppress differences before the experiment.

figure 2

ED9 flow map: pretest interview

figure 3

PS6’s flow map: pretest interview

figure 4

PS6 flow map: posttest interview

In the following sections, we describe the results of this study in terms of the definitions, system concepts, examples, and advanced system-concept explanations of the preservice technology teachers as they relate to the engineering design thinking process.

Preservice technology teachers’ performance: defining engineering design thinking

As shown in Table 2 , the number of preservice technology teachers in the engineering design group (experimental group) who were able to define engineering design thinking increased from two in the pre-experiment test to eight in the post-experiment test. However, the number of preservice technology teachers in the problem-solving group (control group) who were able to provide a definition of engineering design thinking increased only from four in the pretest to eight in the posttest.

Preservice technology teachers’ performance: system concepts in engineering design thinking

Overall system concept.

An analysis of the performance of the preservice technology teachers in terms of their overall system concepts of engineering design thinking is shown in Table 3 . A chi-square test indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between the engineering design group (experimental group) and problem-solving group (control group) in this regard.

Individual system concepts

An analysis of the performance of the preservice technology teachers in each system concept of engineering design thinking is shown in Table 4 . According to the chi-square test, there were statistically significant differences between the experimental and control groups in four system concepts: problem definition, idea generation, modeling, and feasibility analysis.

Preservice technology teachers’ performance: providing examples of engineering design thinking

As shown in Table 5 , the number of preservice technology teachers in the experimental and control groups who were able to provide examples of engineering design thinking increased from 5 and 3 in the pre-experiment test to 15 and 10 in the post-experiment test, respectively. The chi-square test indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups.

Preservice technology teachers’ performance: explanations of advanced system concepts

Ability to provide explanations for advanced system concepts.

An analysis of the abilities of the preservice technology teachers to provide explanations for advanced system concepts is shown in Table 6 . According to the chi-square test, there was a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups in this aspect.

Ability to provide advanced explanations for each system concept

Table 7 shows an analysis of the preservice technology teachers’ ability to provide advanced explanations for each system concept. The chi-square test showed that there was a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups in terms of their ability to provide advanced explanations for idea generation.

This section discusses a few important topics in further depth in light of the above results. The topics include the findings of Hynes ( 2012 ), who found that technology teachers tend to focus on prototype construction and redesign when they teach engineering design, and whether EDP-STEM-PBL helps to improve the thinking capabilities of preservice teachers in these steps. In addition, we discuss whether preservice teachers are able to exhibit sophisticated thinking during the engineering design thinking process.

Does EDP-STEM-PBL improve preservice technology teachers’ performance during modeling?

In the engineering design process proposed by Hynes ( 2012 ), the most important step of the process for preservice teachers is prototype construction. Hynes ( 2012 ) further noted that preservice teachers should be able to construct ideas and perform calculations. Idea construction refers to the ability of a preservice teacher to evaluate the feasibility of a model and deeply understand the scope of effects brought about by a modification to the model after the idea generation step in EDP-STEM-PBL. The ability to perform calculations refers to the ability of a PTT to come to terms with the complex or custom dimensions of the prototype constructed according to the idea generation, including the ability to understand the characteristics and measurements of the prototype. In the following sections, we will describe how the preservice teachers in this study reflected on their learning after they were taught the EDP-STEM-PBL curriculum.

The prototype construction step was described by Hynes ( 2012 ) as the construction of a working model of an original idea. During this step, an idea may be further developed according to the features of the prototype, and the feasibility of some desired change to the prototype’s specifications may also be assessed. The performance of the preservice technology teachers during the prototype construction step (as per the definition above) is shown in Table 4 . When we performed an analysis on the individual system concepts that are key for project-based learning, we found statistically significant differences between the experimental and control groups. This indicated that the preservice teachers in the experimental group were able to clearly and correctly explain procedural knowledge of prototype construction. It also showed that these teachers tended to think that the problems that occur while generating ideas and performing calculations affect the quality of the final implementation. In other words, most of the preservice technology teachers in the experimental group tried to improve their designs after evaluating the prototype they constructed according to the objectives and standards, having gained insights that enabled them to refine the final implementation. In contrast, the performance of the control group in terms of implementation quality was directly affected by the problem-definition and information-gathering steps. The control group was unable to attain the same high level of performance as those using the engineering design process (experimental group) during prototype construction.

Does EDP-STEM-PBL improve preservice technology teachers’ performance during redesign?

In Hynes’s ( 2012 ) definition of the engineering design process, redesign refers to the learners’ ability to understand the goals of a project and to realize that the project implementation does not have to be perfect after the first iteration; it is also a measure of the learners’ ability to learn from mistakes and validate their designs. Explanations of redesign may be categorized as in situ explanations, review explanations, and advanced explanations. In situ explanations refer to explanations of redesign provided by a teacher while the student is learning how to build a project (e.g., modifications and suggestions). Review explanations refer to guidance provided by teachers to students after the students have already finished most of the redesign. Advanced explanations refer to advanced interpretations of the redesign, such as designers retracing their work to the problem-definition step (e.g., to identify newly recognized needs or problems) or returning to the modeling step (e.g., to improve their models for a new version of the design). The redesign step can be thought of as preservice technology teachers fundamentally rethinking the engineering design process and overhauling their designs.

As shown in Table 4 , the performance of the preservice technology teachers in the experimental group ( N = 4, 27%) was better than that of the preservice technology teachers in the control group ( N = 1, 8%). This implies that the preservice technology teachers who were taught using the EDP-STEM-PBL curriculum were better than those in the control group at implementing their projects using the engineering design process in an orderly manner. Based on the results of the interviews, teachers should use in situ and review explanations to help students understand redesign and thus expound on the contents of and knowledge within the curriculum. Furthermore, teachers should highlight the actions that must be taken by the students and prevent them from taking ineffective actions. With the teachers’ guidance, the students should think of the engineering design process as a whole instead of rushing to complete the project. Furthermore, students should be guided through advanced explanations to return to the problem-definition or modeling step during redesign to think about why it may be necessary to revise or improve their original design. The overall results suggested that pedagogy based on the engineering design process can significantly improve the redesign capabilities of preservice technology teachers in STEM-PBL.

Does EDP-STEM-PBL improve preservice technology teachers’ ability to use sophisticated thinking?

The cultivation of sophisticated thinking in the engineering design process can be discussed from two perspectives: the ability to provide examples (Table 5 ) and advanced system concept explanations (Table 6 ) about the engineering design process. Our analyses showed that the experimental group was superior to the control group in providing examples of engineering design thinking. This suggests that EDP-STEM-PBL helps cultivate the ability of preservice technology teachers to think divergently or convergently. Atman et al. ( 2007 ) noted that expert engineers are skilled at making decisions about engineering-related concepts because they have absorbed a broad and diverse range of engineering concepts. Based on their working experience in various jobs, professional engineers are able to easily and accurately evaluate components of the engineering design process (e.g., problem descriptions, prototypes, work plans, independent completion time). They are highly adept at applying their metacognitive skills and understanding engineering design thinking concepts.

The aforementioned qualitative analyses also showed that the experimental and control groups were both unable to provide advanced system concept explanations during project implementation. This is somewhat inconsistent with the findings of previous studies. For example, in a study in which freshmen and senior engineering students were asked to perform an engineering task, Atman et al. ( 2005 ) found that the seniors had a higher number of transitions, greater progression to later stages, and longer design times than the freshmen (problem-solving time is an important factor, as it encompasses the cognitive structures of advanced system concepts in engineering design thinking). West, Fensham, and Garrard ( 1985 ) noted that “cognitive structures” generally consist of two important components: the knowledge stored within the conceptual structure and the organization of this knowledge. It is possible that the preservice technology teachers in this study were not able to fully express their advanced system-concept explanations during the STEM-PBL curricula, thus resulting in a deviation from the findings of previous studies. In our opinion, the preservice technology teachers in the experimental and control groups may have spent too much time on problem definition and were slow to transition to developing alternative solutions and project implementation. Atman et al. ( 2005 ), who used similar teaching materials, found that freshmen and senior engineering students both spent large amounts of time on the problem-definition step, which includes the time spent reading and describing the problem. Therefore, we believe that the preservice technology teachers who were taught using EDP-STEM-PBL were highly proficient in presenting basic descriptions and definitions of engineering design thinking. However, they were far less proficient in the use of high-level deductive reasoning and dialectical thinking, as they generally preferred to use basic definitions, descriptions, and conceptual explanations rather than exhibiting higher-level skills. It is possible that the preservice technology teachers who were taught with the EDP-STEM-PBL curriculum will gradually transition to higher-level skills as they become more familiar with engineering design process pedagogy.

Research limitations

This study focuses on the cognitive structure of preservice technology teachers in engineering design to probe their understanding of engineering design thinking. However, a self-criticism of this study reveals that it was subject to the following limitations. The utilization of the flow-map method with the metalistening technique is very time consuming, making it difficult to increase the number of research subjects. That is, the external validity (generalizability) of this study is the major limitation.

Another limitation is the statistical approach to exploring the effect of applying the engineering design process to STEM project-based learning in developing preservice technology teachers’ schema of design thinking. If the number of research subjects had exceeded 30 preservice technology teachers in each group, we could have utilized analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) in this study. However, there were only 28 preservice technology teachers in this study; thus, we could utilize only the chi-square test to compare their cognitive structures and suppress differences before the experiment.

Finally, we arranged 1 h of interview time for each preservice technology teacher for the purpose of controlling the interview time. That is, the subjects had to express what they wanted to say within 30 min and then listen what they had said and explain what they had forgotten to say for the remaining 30 min. In the pretest interview, this amount of time was sufficient. However, for the posttest interview, this amount of time was sometimes insufficient. Very few preservice technology teachers were anxious to extend the interview, even when we asked them to feel free to finish what they wanted to say.

The main focus of this study was the effectiveness of EDP-STEM-PBL in cultivating the cognitive structures of preservice technology teachers with respect to engineering design thinking. Based on the experiment, we analyzed the effects of EDP-STEM-PBL and compared the results of the experimental and control groups. The results of the experimental teaching activity are as follows:

EDP-STEM-PBL improved problem definition, idea generation, and engineering design thinking

First, preservice technology teachers who were taught using the engineering design thinking process (the experimental group) performed better than the control group in problem definition, idea generation, modeling, and feasibility analysis. In this study, 28 preservice technology teachers were taught from a STEM-PBL curriculum based on the mousetrap car project. The number of preservice technology teachers who were able to describe the problem increased from two (13.3%) to eight (53.3%) in the experimental group and from four (30.8%) to five (38.5%) in the control group. Hence, the ability of the experimental group to define the basic problem (i.e., the ability to clarify the scope and context of the problem) improved significantly after EDP-STEM-PBL. This is consistent with the findings of Atman et al. ( 2007 ), whose subjects were asked to design a playground: expert engineers generally read a problem several times and ask for the specifics to be repeated, which helps them identify the constraints of the problem, reconstruct the problem, and summarize effective ideas. In other words, the experimental group was better able to define how the problems of the project activity were linked to the goals of the project after they were taught the EDP-STEM-PBL curriculum.

Atman et al. ( 2007 ) noted that expert engineers spend large amounts of time on the engineering design thinking process. However, during the teaching experiment in this study, we found that the subjects either used their intuition or convergent/logical thinking to solve the problem after the steps of problem definition, decision-making, and objective confirmation; this is likely to be a crucial factor in determining the results of the experiment. Furthermore, by analyzing the performance of the experimental group in further detail, we found that the experimental group was better at estimating the influence of each factor during the modeling process and thus produced the best solutions; members of the experimental group were subsequently able to confirm whether a solution met the criteria set by the problem definition and review the general applicability of their solutions. This result is consistent with the findings of Atman et al. ( 2007 ), who found that the experimental group was able to determine the relevant causal relationships of a problem and discover the most important factors for solving the problem; on this basis, they identified the focal points of the problem, performed feasibility analyses, reviewed the constraints, and determination criteria of the problem, and provided simple explanations of the results that could be produced by further analysis. Therefore, it is our opinion that teaching goals should be cross-evaluated and explained in advance; additionally, more time should be dedicated to problem scoping and the development of alternative solutions. Furthermore, more effort should be dedicated to feasibility analysis to shorten the time needed by preservice technology teachers to solve engineering problems. On this basis, we expect the incorporation of engineering design process pedagogy to strongly improve teaching effectiveness.

Prioritize procedural learning in modeling and redesign for preservice technology teachers in STEM project-based learning

This approach can improve preservice technology teachers’ capacity for sophisticated thinking. Hynes ( 2012 ) noted that the prototype construction and redesign steps of the engineering design process affect the development of sophisticated thinking. Our results showed that the preservice technology teachers who received engineering design process pedagogy outperformed the control group in the prototype construction and redesign steps. Wu and Tsai ( 2005 ) proposed that constructivist science activities could provide opportunities for “cognitive apprenticeship,” as these activities allow for the application of metacognition and high-level information-processing strategies to the organization of cognitive structures. Furthermore, during these learning activities, students are provided with opportunities for expression, communication, and consultation, which improve their cognitive structures in engineering design thinking. Therefore, we suggest that the engineering design process be incorporated through engineering-related, project-based learning activities. This will help preservice technology teachers formulate improved designs using their engineering design knowledge and improve their cognitive structures in engineering design thinking.

In this study, the flow-map method was used to acquire and analyze the cognitive structures of preservice technology teachers; quantitative and qualitative analyses were also performed on the collected data. We found that the preservice technology teachers who were taught the engineering design process significantly improved their performance in prototype construction and redesign. Similarly, Atman et al. ( 2007 ) found that expert engineers are skilled at making decisions about engineering-related concepts because they understand a broad range of engineering concepts, and their experience enables them to easily and accurately evaluate various aspects of the engineering design process (e.g., problem descriptions, prototypes, work plans, independent completion time). Successful professional engineers are highly adept at applying their metacognitive skills and understanding of engineering design thinking concepts. We believe that incorporating the engineering design process into the training of preservice technology teachers is beneficial for refining their cognitive structure in engineering design thinking. However, the design of these teaching courses should be based on the progress of preservice technology teachers in engineering-related courses to improve their capacity for sophisticated thinking.

Suggestions for future research

One of the main advantages of engineering design process pedagogy is that it cultivates sophisticated thinking. However, there are many difficulties in implementing this mode of pedagogy (Linder, 1999 ). Many teachers feel that the obstacles to its implementation are too severe, and the issue most frequently cited is insufficient time. If the weaknesses of preservice technology teachers can be discovered through preclass investigation, and a few elements of engineering design thinking pedagogy can be added to address these weaknesses, this approach will undoubtedly enhance teaching effectiveness without wasting too much time on trial and error. Furthermore, as EDP-STEM-PBL involves several skills that are generally applicable to other tasks (Atman et al., 2005 ), improving the problem scoping and development capabilities of preservice technology teachers will also improve their ability to devise alternative solutions. Engineering design activities prepare preservice technology teachers for realistic problems, provide opportunities for practice, and improve their abilities in various areas, including their ability to integrate knowledge. Therefore, designing learning activities that are relevant to real-life will cultivate practical knowledge and problem-solving capabilities in preservice technology teachers and improve their ability to address real-life subjects.

Availability of data and materials

The quantitative data and materials are in Chinese. If you need the data and materials, please contact the corresponding author.

Abbreviations

STEM project-based learning combined with the engineering design process

National Taiwan Normal University

STEM-PBL curriculum based on the technological problem-solving process

  • Preservice technology teacher

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

Anderson, O. R., & Demetrius, O. J. (1993). A flow-map method of representing cognitive structure based on respondents’ narrative using science content. Journal of Research in Science Teaching , 30 (8), 953–969.

Article   Google Scholar  

Atman, C. J., Adams, R. S., Cardella, M. E., Turns, J., Mosborg, S., & Saleem, J. (2007). Engineering design processes: A comparison of students and expert practitioners. Journal of Engineering Education , 96 (4), 359–379.

Atman, C. J., Cardella, M. E., Turns, J., & Adams, R. (2005). Comparing freshman and senior engineering design processes: An in-depth follow-up study. Design Studies , 26 , 325–357.

Baumann, N., & Kuhl, J. (2002). Intuition, affect, and personality: Unconscious coherence judgments and self-regulation of negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 83 (5), 1213–1223.

Borgford-Parnell, J., Deibel, K., & Atman, C. J. (2010). From engineering design research to engineering pedagogy: Bringing research results directly to the students. International Journal of Engineering Education , 26 (4), 748–759.

Google Scholar  

Brand, B. R. (2020). Integrating science and engineering practices: Outcomes form a collaborative professional development. International Journal of STEM Education , 7 , 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00210-x .

Brophy, S., Klein, S., Portsmore, M., & Rogers, C. (2008). Advancing engineering education in P-12 classrooms. Journal of Engineering Education , 97 (3), 369–387.

Bybee, R. W. (2013). The case for STEM education: Challenges and opportunities . Arlington: National Science Teachers Association.

Capobianco, B. M., & Rupp, M. (2014). STEM teachers’ planned and enacted attempts at implementing engineering design-based instruction. School Science and Mathematics , 114 (6), 258–270. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssm.12078 .

Dym, C. L., Agogino, A. M., Eris, O., Frey, D. D., & Leifer, L. J. (2005). Engineering design thinking, teaching, and learning. Journal of Engineering Education , 94 (1), 103–120.

English, L. D. (2017). Advancing elementary and middle school STEM education. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education , 15 (Suppl 1), S5–S24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-017-9802-x .

English, L. D., & King, D. (2015). STEM learning through engineering design: Fourth-grade students’ investigations in aerospace. International Journal of STEM Education , 2 , 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-015-0027-7 .

English, L. D., & King, D. (2019). STEM integration in sixth grade: Desligning and constructing paper bridges. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education , 17 (5), 863–884. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-018-9912-0 .

Fan, S. C., Yu, K. C., & Lin, K. Y. (2020). A framework for implementing an engineering-focused STEM curriculum. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-020-10129-y .

Fan, S. C., Yu, K. C., & Lou, S. J. (2018). Why do students present different design objectives in. engineering design projects? International Journal of Technology and Design Education , 28 (4), 1039–1060. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-017-9420-5 .

Hannah, R., Joshi, S., & Summers, J. D. (2012). A user study of interpretability of engineering design representation. Journal of Engineering Design , 23 (6), 443–468.

Holmes, K., Gore, J., Smith, M., & Lloyd, A. (2017). An integrated analysis of school students’ aspirations for STEM careers: Which student and school factors are most predictive? International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education . Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-016-9793-z .

Hynes, M. M. (2012). Middle-school teachers’ understanding and teaching of the engineering design process: A look at subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge. International Journal of Technology and Design Education , 22 , 345–360.

Lammi, M., & Becker, K. (2013). Engineering design thinking. Journal of Technology Education , 24 (2), 55–77.

Lin, K. Y., Hsiao, H. S., Williams, P. J., & Chen, Y. H. (2020). Effects of 6E-oriented STEM practical activities in cultivating middle school students’ attitudes toward technology and technological inquiry ability. Research in Science and Technological Education , 38 (1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/02635143.2018.1561432 .

Linder, B. M. (1999). Understanding estimation and its relation to engineering education, Doctoral Dissertation, Cambridge, Mass.: Massachusetts institute of technology.

Milentijevic, I., Ciric, V., & Vojinovic, O. (2008). Version control in project-based learning. Computer & Education , 50 , 1331–1338.

Ministry of Education (2018). The technology learning area curriculum guidelines in the 12 year compulsory education. Retrieved on December 1 2018 from https://www.naer.edu.tw/ezfiles/0/1000/attach/52/pta_18529_8438379_60115.pdf .

Sanders, M. (2009). STEM, STEM education, STEM mania. The Technology Teacher , 68 (4), 20–26.

Shavelson, R. J. (1974). Methods for examining representations of a subject-matter structure in a student’s memory. Journal of Research in Science Teaching , 11 , 231–249.

Song, T., Becker, K., Gero, J., DeBerard, S., Lawanto, O., & Reeve, E. (2016). Problem decomposition and recomposition in engineering design: A comparison of design behavior between professional engineers, engineering seniors, and engineering freshmen. Journal of Technology Education , 27 (2), 37–56.

Stemler, S. E. (2004). A comparison of consensus, consistency, and measurement approaches to estimating interrater reliability. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation , 9 , 1–11. https://doi.org/10.7275/96jp-xz07 .

Strimel, G., & Grubbs, M. E. (2016). Positioning technology and engineering education as a key force in STEM education. Journal of Technology Education , 27 (2), 21–36.

Sung, E., & Kelley, T. R. (2018). Identifying design process patterns: A sequential analysis study of. design thinking. International Journal of Technology and Design Education . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-018-944 .

Tsai, C. C., & Huang, C. M. (2002). Exploring students’ cognitive structures in learning science: a review of relevant methods. Journal of Biological Education , 36 (4), 163–169.

Wahono, B., Lin, P. L., & Chang, C. Y. (2020). Evidence of STEM enactment effectiveness in Asian student learning outcomes. International Journal of STEM Education , 7 , 36. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00236-1 .

West, L. H. T., Fensham, P. J., & Garrard, J. E. (1985). Describing the cognitive structures of learners following instruction in chemistry. In L. H. T. West, & A. L. Pines (Eds.), Cognitive structures and conceptual change , (pp. 29–48). Orlando: Academic Press.

Wind, S. A., Alemdar, M., Lingle, J. A., Moore, R., & Asilkalkan, A. (2019). Exploring student understanding of the engineering design process using distractor analysis. International Journal of STEM Education , 6 , 4. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-018-0156-x .

Wu, Y. T., & Tsai, C. C. (2005). Development of elementary school students’ cognitive structures and information processing strategies under long-term constructivist-oriented science instruction. Science Education , 89 (5), 822–846.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We are extremely grateful to the teachers and students who participated in this study.

This research was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China under Contract numbers MOST 105-2628-S-003-001-MY3, MOST 108-2511-H-003-058-MY4 and the “Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences” of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) from The Featured Areas Research Center Program within the framework of the Higher Education Sprout Project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan. The findings and recommendations contained in this article of those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Department of Technology Application and Human Resource Development and Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, 162, Section 1, Heping E. Rd, Taipei City, 106, Taiwan

Kuen-Yi Lin

Graduate Institute of Network Learning Technology, National Central University, Chungli, Taiwan

Ying-Tien Wu

Chien-Kuo Junior High School, Taoyuan City, Taiwan

Yi-Ting Hsu

Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

P. John Williams

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Contributions

Kuen-Yi Lin is the leader of this research, he is in charge of the research design, conducting teaching experiment, data analysis, and writing the manuscript. Ying-Tien Wu is responsible for analyzing the flow map and qualitative data with Dr. Lin. They spent more than 3 months to discuss and analyze the data. Besides, they also discuss the possible reasons in explaining the research results. Yi-Ting Hsu is responsible for collecting and analyzing the related literature, drawing the flow map according the qualitative data of in-depth interview and metalistening. P. John Williams is responsible for providing comments to this research, and he is also responsible for revising the manuscript due to his first language is English. The author(s) read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kuen-Yi Lin .

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate.

Ethical approval for this study was waived by Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Policy # 1010265075 because this research is on educational evaluation in a general teaching environment and the research participants are all adults.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

Additional information, publisher’s note.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ .

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

Lin, KY., Wu, YT., Hsu, YT. et al. Effects of infusing the engineering design process into STEM project-based learning to develop preservice technology teachers’ engineering design thinking. IJ STEM Ed 8 , 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00258-9

Download citation

Received : 01 April 2020

Accepted : 07 December 2020

Published : 08 January 2021

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00258-9

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Cognitive structure
  • Flow-map method
  • Secondary school

research on engineering design process

  • Toggle navigation

A City Tech OpenLab Course Site

  • Course Profile
  • Philosophy of the Class
  • Class Structure
  • Grading Policy
  • Content Outline
  • Contact Info & Communications

Engineering Design

  • Open Portfolio Fall 2020
  • What is Engineering Design Process?

What is Engineering Design Process? Why are there so many design process models?

The research trend on the engineering design process has changed depending on the perspective of engineering. In the middle of the 20th century, research on engineering design process conducted in terms of applied science. Since the 1980s, some researchers viewed engineering as a problem-solving process. In recent years, many researchers agreed that engineering design processes are complex and amorphous; as a result, some researchers adopted an ethnographic approach to describe details of the engineering design process within the specific engineering contexts. In order to understand the engineering design process, we will review the discussions and arguments in the development of design theories.

1        Engineering Design as Applied Science

In the 1950s and 1960s, U.S. engineering education was science-oriented in its approach (Bousbaci, 2008). Since the Second World War, a number of theory-oriented European engineers—nuclear engineers and space engineers, in particular—moved to the United States (Seely, 1999). The science-oriented engineering research of the time influenced the U.S. engineering education curriculum, which primarily focused on theory-based science learning (Grinter, 1955). Moreover, the U.S. military supported this trend by providing science-oriented research funding (Bix, 2002). This context coincided with an engineering perspective called applied science (Howell, 2002; Pahl & Beitz, 2013; Simon, 1975). Fletcher and Shoup (1978) viewed engineering as

“an applied science which deals with the planning, design, construction, testing, management or operation of facilities, machine, structures, and other devices used by all segments of society” (Flether & Shoup, 1978, p. 2).

The applied science approach attempted to define the design process based on logical, systematic, and rationalist views. Herbart Simon (1973) argued that a design problem can be defined as a well-defined problem. He stated that a well-defined problem has the following properties:

  • a definite criterion
  • at least one problem space
  • definable state changes, and
  • representable states.

According to this approach, all problems are solvable if the problem solver decomposes the problem. On the other hand, if a problem is not solvable, its proponents believed, it is because the problem solver were not able to define the problem. Design science theorists believed that design processes could also be illustrated via step-by-step models that divided design processes into distinct phases, including problem definition, analysis, ideation, and evaluation (Simon, 1973). One representative model of this approach is Hubka’s systematic design process model (1983). Hubka presented the design process in comparison with the technical process, which depicted the design process as a wire drawing. For example, a design project is a technical process where space and time variables apply. Once the design project is initiated, the effects of human actions and technical systems lead the design process, which in turn influences the project output. The model attempted to define the basic elements of the design process and identify a unified design process model applicable to a variety of design tasks.

A Design Model through Technical Process Model (Hubka, 1983, p. 9). The model can be accessed through https://www.daaam.info/Downloads/Pdfs/proceedings/proceedings_2014/074.pdf

However, the applied science approach has failed to represent the dynamic characteristics of design processes (Sheppard, Macatangay, Colby, & Sullivan, 2008). Rittel and Weber (1973) argued that design problems cannot be defined by definite rules and operations. He labeled this characteristic of design problems as wicked problems that lack definitive formulation, stopping roles, operations, and definitive solutions. Accordingly, Dorst (2004) argued that most design problems have the following three characteristics: 1) design problems are partly determined by explicit needs and constraints; 2) a major part of design problems is underdetermined; and 3) most parts of design problems can be considered undetermined. The applied science approach has contributed to the foundation of design process research, but is limited in its capacity to represent complex, intertwined design processes.

2        Engineering Design as Problem-Solving

An alternative approach to study the design process focused on problem-solving activities (Clarkson & Eckert, 2004; Cross, 2000; Lawson & Dorst, 2013). This approach emphasized engineers’ problem-solving activities: generating ideas, exploring the consequences, and evaluating the results. The underlying idea of this approach is that problem-solving plays as a fundamental operation in human activities. Similar to the applied science approach, this idea views the full design process as smaller sub-processes, such as conceptual design, prototyping, and product manufacturing (Ball, Evans, Dennis, & Ormerod, 1997). The problem-solving approach considers problem-solving as a sub-process of the design process. This approach led to the development of design process phase models that solved engineering problems step by step (Lawson & Dorst, 2013). The phase models allow engineers to easily generate a comparable solution by treating the engineering design task as problem-solving.

Many researchers have investigated how engineers generate the best solution via problem-solving approach. Lawson (1979) compared the problem-solving styles of architectural engineers and scientists and concluded that architectural engineers tended to use solution-oriented strategies, while scientists preferred to use problem-focused strategies. Lu (2015) studied the relationship between problem-solving types and design quality. Lu compared four problem-solving style types: problem-driven, information-driven, solution-driven, and knowledge-driven. Lu’s study concluded that the solution-driven strategies yielded more creative design outcomes than the other types. Dorst and Cross (2001) examined the design process in terms of creativity and confirmed that iterations between problem-space and solution-space are key to the generation of creative ideas.

Some critics have claimed that problem-solving process models do not explain all aspects of the design process. Bucciarelli (2003) argued that design process models depicted by shapes and arrows can only reflect a narrow view of the design process. Engineers often experience frustration when they try to solve a certain engineering problem according to a design process model because the model does not work as described.

3        Engineering Design as Ethnography

The multifaceted nature of engineering has led many researchers to adopt an ethnographical approach as a research methodology (Bucciarelli, 2003; Latour & Woolgar, 1986; Vinck, 2009). This ethnographical research method provides a realistic description of engineering tasks within the specific engineering contexts. Vinck (2009) used this approach to illustrate engineers’ day-to-day lives. Vinck visited engineers’ plants, design offices, and laboratories to observe what real engineers do. Using the ethnographical approach, Vinck presented the natural characteristics of engineering as: socio-technical complexity, negotiation and optimization, and comprehensive job practices (from designing to presenting the design solution). One advantage of this approach is that it does not simply claim that engineering is complex; it also identifies how the complexity occurred and was managed. The ethnographical approach can describe the engineering design process with realistic and authentic illustrations.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

  • How to Navigate this Site
  • Philosophy of this course
  • How to create an online portfolio site on Google Sites
  • Engineering Design Process and Pedagogy

Logged-in faculty members can clone this course. Learn More!

Recent Comments

  • A WordPress Commenter on Hello world!

research on engineering design process

© 2024 EDU 4480 Principles of Engineering

Theme by Anders Noren — Up ↑

The OpenLab at City Tech: A place to learn, work, and share

The OpenLab is an open-source, digital platform designed to support teaching and learning at City Tech (New York City College of Technology), and to promote student and faculty engagement in the intellectual and social life of the college community.

New York City College of Technology

New York City College of Technology | City University of New York

Accessibility

Our goal is to make the OpenLab accessible for all users.

Learn more about accessibility on the OpenLab

What is the engineering design process? 

The engineering design process is a series of steps that engineers follow to find a solution to a problem. The process combines mathematics, applied science, and engineering sciences to optimize and meet the requirements needed for the project to succeed. 

The steps in the engineering design process aren’t always followed in a particular order, but when adjusted based on a team’s needs, they can be used to evaluate which course of action will lead to the highest chance of success. 

research on engineering design process

Build a culture of effective meetings with your engineering team

Level up your engineering meeting habits to boost engagement and productivity with a collaborative meeting agenda. Try a tool like Fellow!

research on engineering design process

Why is the engineering design process important? 

There are endless benefits to the engineering design process. Since the process is based on objective raw data, it can add structure to your projects, help you make decisions, and solve problems without bias. 

It can also help you view your past experiences in a different light. The process teaches you that setbacks and failures can be useful sources of future data. Additionally, the engineering design process can help you break big decisions into smaller, more manageable steps. 

Steps in the engineering design process 

  • Outline a problem
  • Conduct research 
  • Hold a brainstorming session 
  • Decide on criteria
  • Establish clear next steps
  • Consider alternatives
  • Develop a proposal 
  • Create a prototype
  • Test and evaluate the prototype
  • Refine and reevaluate 
  • Create the solution and communicate your results 

1 Outline a problem

The first step of the process is defining the problem you want to solve. If you’re designing a product, you would select the target audience and identify why it’s important to find a solution. You might also ask what potential issues you could run into as you move through the rest of the process and what the limitations of the final product will be. During this step, ask critical questions that will help you determine current and future challenges. 

2 Conduct research 

Conduct research on what your team and others have done before that can help you move forward with this project. Speak to colleagues, engineers in your professional network, and other individuals who have worked on similar projects to gain insight. This step is important because it will introduce you to possibilities you may not have considered. 

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” — Zora Neale Hurston , American author

3 Hold a brainstorming session 

The third step in the engineering design process is to use brainstorming techniques as a group to find solutions to the problems you’ve identified previously. Brainstorming leads to creative thought and encourages team members to share their unique ideas, no matter how out there they may seem. During your team brainstorming session, develop possible solutions in a list format. Let the ideas flow and try not to judge the proposed designs at this stage. 

Did you know that we have distilled everything you need to know about meetings into ready-to-use templates? Use our brainstorm session agenda template by Shopify to run productive and inclusive brainstorming sessions with your team.

 alt=

4 Decide on criteria

Now that you’ve outlined potential solutions and have completed the research phase, establish the criteria you’ll use to see if your product is successful. It’s during this stage that you should establish what factors could constrain your work moving forward. Criteria may include the cost, the scope, and the time it takes to deliver the final product. If it’s helpful, revisit the work you completed in the previous steps to see if any ideas are relevant now. 

5 Establish clear next steps

The fifth step of the engineering design process is to establish the concrete next steps each individual on the team needs to take to move forward with the project. During this stage, leaders on the team should assign clear action items to each person involved. Action items can be delegated during a team meeting and should live in a project management tool (like Fellow!) where everyone can see progress in real-time.   

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eyes fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.” — Dag Hammarskjöld , former Secretary-General of the United Nations

With Fellow, you can assign, visualize, and prioritize all your meeting to-dos in one place and sync them with tools like Jira, Asana, and Zapier. Additionally, Fellow makes it easy to visualize and organize your upcoming tasks in the action items section, so you can focus on your priorities and start each day feeling in control.

research on engineering design process

6 Consider alternatives

Good solutions aren’t possible without good alternatives. Generate a list of potential alternatives that could effectively solve the problem identified in step one. Having a carefully thought out set of alternatives along with a detailed document that outlines their consequences, key differences from your chosen solution, and the potential response from customers, clients, and stakeholders with respect to the trade offs can make all the difference. Considering other options at this stage will make it easier to determine solutions for future challenges. 

7 Develop a proposal 

Refine and improve your solution with a design proposal. A proposal will include materials like reports, drawings, objectives, statements, and models. This step may be ongoing throughout the project’s life cycle. For example, if you’re creating a product for a client, you may develop multiple proposals for different ideas suggested during the brainstorming stage. Your proposals should include the project background, objectives, methodologies, deliverables, and a proposed timeline. 

8 Create a prototype

Creating a prototype has many advantages, but most importantly, it simulates the real future product. If you’re creating a prototype to show a client or customer, this stage will help you determine if there are any changes that need to be made before allocating the resources needed for implementation. It also gives your team the opportunity to test the design’s correctness and check for errors before putting it into production. 

If the goal of your product is to be mass-produced for consumers, having a good prototype will be an attractive feature for investors. Investors want to see the product in its physical form; they aren’t interested in spending money on a device that could work, so be sure to invest in a quality model. 

“Prototype as if you are right. Listen as if you are wrong.” — Diego Rodriguez , business designer and enginee

9 Test and evaluate the prototype

The ninth step is to test your prototype to see how the final product will perform. Prototypes are often made from different materials than the final version, so make sure that your prototypes are made of high quality materials so they operate as similarly as possible to the eventual final product. If possible, have future users test the prototype and provide your team with feedback about the product. The testing phase is the perfect opportunity to iron out last-minute details and ensure everyone will be happy with the final product. 

10 Refine and reevaluate 

Now that the testing phase is complete, your team can revise and improve the product. This step can be repeated several times based on the feedback you receive from teammates, management, clients, customers, investors, and stakeholders. 

It’s at this stage that your team’s communication skills will be put to the test. Creating any product requires a team of engineers who can effectively communicate their ideas and concepts with one another. During the refining and reevaluating stage, you may have conflicting feedback, but team members will ultimately have to come together as one to determine what the final product should look like. 

11 Create the solution and communicate your results 

The final stage of the engineering design process is to decide upon and create your finished solution for the product—this may take the form of a polished prototype, for example. Once the product is complete, communicate your results in the form of a report or presentation, or by using another method. Keeping sufficient documentation at this stage will help you bring the finished product to manufacturers if necessary. 

Parting advice

The engineering design process sets a path forward for engineering teams to execute both small—and large-scale ideas. While the process is highly iterative, with parts that may need to be repeated many times before others can begin, it can create the foundation for an incredible final product. 

The next time you and your team are tasked with a project, follow our 11 steps to give yourself a high chance of success.

Related stories

Best Practices for Leading Distributed Engineering Teams 7 min read

Engineering Collaboration: 8 Best Software and Tools (2024) 7 min read

What is an Automation Engineer? 7 min read

Keep Reading

A Guide to Engineering Career Pathways

A Guide to Engineering Career Pathways

The 4 Levels of Testing in Software Engineering Explained

The 4 Levels of Testing in Software Engineering Explained

The Ultimate Guide to Collaborative Decision Making

The Ultimate Guide to Collaborative Decision Making

Everything to Know About “No Deploy Fridays”

Everything to Know About “No Deploy Fridays”

What is the Strategic Management Process?

What is the Strategic Management Process?

What is Research and Development Engineering?

What is Research and Development Engineering?

Agile Prioritization Techniques: 8 Models to Develop a Product

Agile Prioritization Techniques: 8 Models to Develop a Product

How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure in 6 Easy Steps

How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure in 6 Easy Steps

10 Alternatives to Meetings That Your Team Should Explore

10 Alternatives to Meetings That Your Team Should Explore

Free meeting templates.

Incoming Client Interview [Legal Clinic] Template

Incoming Client Interview [Legal Clinic] Template

Backlog Grooming Meeting Template

Backlog Grooming Meeting Template

Sales Discovery Call Template

Sales Discovery Call Template

Decision-Making Meeting Agenda Template

Decision-Making Meeting Agenda Template

Project Proposal Meeting Template

Project Proposal Meeting Template

Strategic Planning Meeting Template

Strategic Planning Meeting Template

Client Quarterly Business Review Meeting Template

Client Quarterly Business Review Meeting Template

First One-on-One Meeting with an Intern

First One-on-One Meeting with an Intern

Termination Meeting Template

Termination Meeting Template

See how leaders in 100+ countries are making meetings more productive and delightful.

Say goodbye to unproductive meetings. Fellow helps your team build great meeting habits through collaborative agendas, real-time notetaking, and time-saving templates.

End every meeting knowing who is doing what by when. Assign, organize, and prioritize all your meeting action items in one place.

Give and get feedback as work happens. Request and track real-time feedback on meetings, recent projects, and performance.

uber

Engineering Product Development (EPD) Logo

  • Bradley Camburn

Senior Lecturer

Pillar / Cluster:  Engineering Product Development

Bradley Camburn

Dr Camburn’s current research centres on leveraging AI to enhance the capabilities of physics-based simulation in support of the design process. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications and made key contributions to design science, particularly in ideation and prototyping.

Before joining SUTD, he was an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University from 2019-2023. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 2015 and his bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008, both in Mechanical Engineering. He was formerly the Chief Engineer at Gilmour Space Technologies and led the Research and Development team to produce the world’s largest single-port hydrogen peroxide oxidised hybrid rocket engine. He also previously worked as a Research Scientist at the Singapore University of Technology and Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology International Design Centre (IDC).

  • PhD. (Mechanical Engineering) University of Texas at Austin 2015
  • MSME (Mechanical Engineering) University of Texas at Austin 2010
  • BSME (Mechanical Engineering) Carnegie Mellon University 2008
  • Editors Choice Award, Journal of Mechanical De-sign, 2020 “Machine Learning-based Design Con-cept Evaluation”
  • Reviewer of The Year, Journal of Mechanical De-sign, 2019
  • Best Paper Award, Design Theory and Methodolo-gy Conference, ASME-IDETC, 2019
  • Design Studies Award, Design Studies Journal, 2018 “Principles of maker and DIY fabrication: enabling design prototypes at low cost.”
  • DBCS SG Mark Award 2017: Design Innovation Cards
  • DBCS SG Mark Award 2017: Gilmour Space Acad-emy
  • MIT Club of Singapore Innovation Award 2016, Light Owl, non-lethal dazzler defense drone
  • Best Paper Nomination, 2015, ASME IDETC, “The Way Makers prototype: Principles of DIY Design” Best Paper Award, 2014, ASME IDETC, “De-signettes: New Approaches to
  • Multidisciplinary design” Graduate Fellowship Award, University of Texas, Cockrell School of Engineering, 2008-2011

Selected Key Publications

  • Camburn, B., He, Y., Raviselvam, S., Luo, J. and Wood, K., 2020. Machine learning-based design concept evaluation. Journal of Mechanical Design, 142 (3), p.031113.
  • Sable, S.D. and Camburn, B., 2021. Topology generation for ion-thruster grids. In AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2021 Forum (p. 3419).
  • Camburn, B., Arlitt, R., Anderson, D., Sanaei, R., Raviselam, S., Jensen, D. and Wood, K.L., 2020. Computer-aided mind map generation via crowdsourcing and machine learning. Research in Engineering Design, 31 , pp.383-409.
  • He, Y., Camburn, B., Liu, H., Luo, J., Yang, M. and Wood, K., 2019. Mining and representing the concept space of existing ideas for directed ideation. Journal of Mechanical Design, 141 (12), p.121101.
  • Bradley Camburn, Yuhui Wee, Lujie Chen, Kristin Wood, Lawrence Sass. Recursive Segmentation: An Approach to Produce Large and Complex Designs. (2019) Proceedings of CAD’19, Singapore, June 24-26, 2019, 358-362
  • Camburn, B., He, Y., Raviselvam, S., Luo, J. and Wood, K., 2019, August. Evaluating crowdsourced design concepts with machine learning. In International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Vol. 59278, p. V007T06A006). American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
  • Camburn, B. and Wood, K., 2018. Principles of maker and DIY fabrication: Enabling design prototypes at low cost. Design Studies, 58 , pp.63-88.
  • Lim, S.Y.C., Camburn, B.A., Moreno, D., Huang, Z. and Wood, K., 2016, August. Design concept structures in massive group ideation. In International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Vol. 50190, p. V007T06A006). American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
  • Hamon, C.L., Green, M.G., Dunlap, B., Camburn, B.A., Crawford, R.H. and Jensen, D.D., 2014, June. Virtual or physical prototypes? Development and testing of a prototyping planning tool. In 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (pp. 24-1361).
  • Camburn, B., Otto, K., Jensen, D., Crawford, R. and Wood, K., 2015. Designing biologically inspired leaf structures: computational geometric transport analysis of volume-to-point flow channels. Engineering with Computers, 31 , pp.361-374.
  • Camburn, B., Viswanathan, V., Linsey, J., Anderson, D., Jensen, D., Crawford, R., Otto, K. and Wood, K., 2017. Design prototyping methods: state of the art in strategies, techniques, and guidelines. Design Science, 3 , p.e13.
  • Camburn, B., Dunlap, B., Gurjar, T., Hamon, C., Green, M., Jensen, D., Crawford, R., Otto, K. and Wood, K., 2015. A systematic method for design prototyping. Journal of Mechanical Design, 137 (8), p.081102.
  • Franklin Anariba
  • Ang Lay Kee, Ricky
  • Cheah Chin Wei
  • Chua Chee Kai
  • Massimiliano Colla
  • Javier G. Fernandez
  • Foong Shaohui
  • Edward M. Greitzer
  • Michinao Hashimoto
  • Hong Yee Low
  • Huang Shaoying
  • Shubhakar Kalya
  • Xiaojuan Khoo
  • Kwan Wei Lek
  • Lee Chee Huei
  • Lim Seh Chun
  • Mohan Rajesh Elara
  • Dario Poletti
  • Nagarajan Raghavan
  • Arlindo Silva
  • Soh Gim Song
  • Tan Mei Chee
  • Teo Tee Hui
  • Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado
  • Kristin L. Wood
  • Wu Chunfeng
  • Yang Hui Ying
  • Yeo Kiat Seng

Programs for Talented Youth

Summer 2024 Admitted Students: SAVY/Career Connection  | VSA

Fall 2024 Course Descriptions: Mentor Immersion (10-12)  | Mini Mentor Immersion (7-9)

Join Our Mailing List | Apply Now!

Summer SAVY, Session 5 Day 2, Engineering Design (Lewis) (1st – 2nd)

Posted by delislss on Tuesday, July 16, 2024 in blog , SAVY .

Today in Engineering Design , we kept the learning moving! After a quick name game to get to know each other a little more, we jumped into understanding engineering. Students started by exploring connections between the story Javier Builds a Bridge and the Engineering Design Process. We found how Javier asked questions, imagined different ideas for his bridge, planned and created the bridge with his family, and then tested and improved the bridge so that it would be stable and safe.   

In literacy time, we read Rosie Revere, Engineer. In this story, Rosie works through the engineering design process, but not without setbacks and misunderstanding the perspectives of others. As we read, we realized that failure doesn’t mean that something is bad, it just means that specific attempt didn’t work. Mistakes and failures lead us to new information. With new information, we can keep trying and make our next attempts better.  

In our Science Exploration time today, we experimented with the force of air and connected it to Newton’s 3 rd Law of Motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. We tested with lots of air in the balloon and a little air in the balloon to see how the force of air would make a balloon travel on a string. Here is a link to the experiment we did if you would like to replicate it at home.  

https://coolscienceexperimentshq.com/balloon-rocket/  

Finally, our class explored how forces impact structures. We built a one-story structure and a tower together. We tested the structures using pushes and pulls (forces) with pencils, weights, rolls of tape, and wind from a fan. As a group, we were able to improve our structures to make them stable and safe, just like civil engineers would do. The students also worked to build their own towers using certain criteria and with the constraints of only using tape, index cards, and string.  

We finished up our day with STEAM Stations and then compared the Parthenon versus a tent for stability and safety. Learning about forces and motion will prepare students for the planning process of building their final bridge product on Thursday.  

It was a great day!  

Mrs. Lewis and Ms. Sharon  

Comments are closed

PTY Programs

  • PTY Online Academy (Grades 3-11)
  • Mentor Immersion (Grades 9-12)
  • SAVY (Grades K-6/Rising Grades 1-8)
  • Career Connections at SAVY (Rising Grade 7)
  • WAVU (Grades 7-12)
  • VSA (Rising Grades 7-12)
  • Vanderbilt Gifted Education Institute

research on engineering design process

Hours & Info

Participation in The FOCAPD2024 (Foundations of Computer Aided Process Design)

Our group will participate in The FOCAPD – 2024 , which will be held from July 15 to 18, 2024, in Colorado, US!

We are excited to announce our involvement in this prestigious event, where we will present our latest research contributions:

  • Javiera Vergara-Zambrano, Styliani Avraamidou – A mathematical programming optimization framework for wind farm design considering multi-directional wake effect.
  • Paola A. Munoz-Briones, Aurora del C. Munguía-López, Kevin L. Sánchez-Rivera, Victor M. Zavala, George W. Huber , Styliani Avraamidou – Optimal Design of Food Packaging Considering Waste Management Technologies to Achieve Circular Economy.
  • Keynote Talk: Design for Circularity: Integrated Decision-Making Approaches for Food Supply Chains – Styliani Avraamidou.

We look forward to showcasing our research and contributing to discussions on sustainable energy applications and circular economy!

  • Search Research
  • Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute
  • Institute for Complex Molecular Systems
  • Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute
  • Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Smart Mobility
  • Engineering Health
  • Integrated Photonics
  • Quantum Technology
  • High Tech Systems Center
  • Data Science
  • Humans and Technology
  • Future Chips
  • Research Groups
  • Other labs and facilities
  • Researchers
  • Applied Physics and Science Education
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Built Environment
  • Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
  • Eindhoven School of Education
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Design
  • Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • National Grants
  • International Grants
  • TU/e Distinctions
  • Sectorplans
  • Research assessments
  • Winners TU/e Science Awards
  • Research Support Network

Information Systems IE&IS

The Information Systems (IS) group studies novel tools and techniques that help organizations use their information systems to support better operational decision making.

research on engineering design process

Create value through intelligent processing of business information

Information Systems are at the core of modern-day organizations. Both within and between organizations. The Information Systems group studies tools and techniques that help to use them in the best possible way, to get the most value out of them.

In order to do that, the IS group helps organizations to: (i) understand the business needs and value propositions and accordingly design the required business and information system architecture; (ii) design, implement, and improve the operational processes and supporting (information) systems that address the business need, and (iii) use advanced data analytics methods and techniques to support decision making for improving the operation of the system and continuously reevaluating its effectiveness.

We do so in various sectors from transportation and logistics, mobility services, high-tech manufacturing, service industry, and e-commerce to healthcare.

Against this background, IS research concentrates on the following topics:

  • Business model design and service systems engineering for digital services.
  • Managing digital transformation.
  • Data-driven business process engineering and execution.
  • Innovative process modeling techniques and execution engines.
  • Human aspects of information systems engineering.
  • Intelligent decision support through Artificial Intelligence and Computational Intelligence.
  • Data-driven decision making.
  • Machine learning to optimize resource allocation.
  • All IS news

research on engineering design process

Research Areas

We work on Information Systems topics in three related research areas.

Business Engineering

Business Engineering (BE) investigates and develops new concepts, methods, and techniques - including novel data-driven approaches - for the…

Process Engineering

Process Engineering (PE) develops integrated tools and techniques for data-driven decision support in the design and execution of…

AI for decision-making

AI for Decision-Making (AI4DM) develops methods, techniques and tools for AI-driven decision making in operational business process.

Application domains

We focus on the application of Information Systems in the following domains.

Smart Industry

The digital transformation of industry is leveraged by Information Systems providing integrated data and process management and AI-enabled…

Service Industry

Service organizations, including banks, insurance companies, and governmental bodies, fully rely on information provisioning to do their…

Information Systems are the backbone of modern health(care) ecosystems. They are critical for clinical research, clinical operations, and…

Transportation and Logistics

Information Systems facilitate monitoring and planning of transportation and logistics resources. By doing so, they ultimately help to…

Information Systems focuses on the business architecture design of new mobility solutions that are safe, efficient, affordable and…

Meet some of our researchers

Hendrik baier, isel grau garcia, laurens bliek, remco dijkman, zaharah bukhsh, oktay türetken, pieter van gorp, baris ozkan, laura genga, maryam razavian, konstantinos tsilionis, alexia athanasopoulou, sybren de kinderen.

  • Meet all our researchers

Recent Publications

  • See all publications

Our most recent peer reviewed publications

Acceptance of Mobility-as-a-Service: Insights from empirical studies on influential factors

A revised cognitive mapping methodology for modeling and simulation, a reference architecture for reverse logistics in the high-tech industry, an explainable data-driven decision support framework for strategic customer development, backpropagation through time learning for recurrence-aware long-term cognitive networks.

research on engineering design process

Open source

We encourage innovation from our research. This is why we share the open-source codes from our research projects.

  • Link to our open source codes

Work with us!

Please check out the TU/e vacancy pages for opportunities within our group. 

If you are a student, potential sponsor or industrial partner and want to work with us, please contact the IS secretariat or the Information Systems group chair,  dr.ir. Remco Dijkman

Visiting address

Postal address.

research on engineering design process

Aims and scope

Research in Engineering Design is an international journal that publishes research papers on design theory and methodology in all fields of engineering, focussing on mechanical, civil, architectural, and manufacturing engineering. The journal is designed for professionals in academia, industry and government interested in research issues relevant to design practice. Papers emphasize underlying principles of engineering design and discipline-oriented research where results are of interest or extendible to other engineering domains. General areas of interest include theories of design, foundations of design environments, representations and languages, models of design processes, and integration of design and manufacturing. Representative topics include functional representation, feature-based design, shape grammars, process design, redesign, product data base models, and empirical studies. The journal also publishes state-of-the-art review articles.

  • Find a journal
  • Publish with us
  • Track your research
  • Top products
  • BIM Collaborate Pro
  • Fusion extensions
  • Flow Capture
  • Flow Production Tracking
  • View all products
  • View Mobile Apps
  • Collections
  • Architecture, Engineering & Construction
  • Product Design & Manufacturing
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Buying with Autodesk
  • Pay as you go with Flex
  • Special offers
  • Help with buying
  • Industry solutions
  • Educational access
  • Product support
  • System requirements
  • Download your software
  • File viewers
  • Students and educators
  • Installation
  • Account management support
  • Educational support
  • Partner Finder
  • Autodesk consulting
  • Contact support
  • Certification
  • Autodesk University
  • Conferences and events
  • Success planning
  • Autodesk Community
  • Developer Network
  • Autodesk Customer Value
  • ASEAN (English)
  • Canada (English)
  • Canada (Français)
  • Deutschland
  • Europe (English)
  • Hong Kong (English)
  • India (English)
  • Latinoamérica
  • Magyarország
  • Middle East (English)
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore (English)
  • South Africa (English)
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

architecture engineering and construction collection logo

Integrated BIM tools, including Revit, AutoCAD, and Civil 3D

product design manufacturing collection logo

Professional CAD/CAM tools built on Inventor and AutoCAD

media and entertainment collection logo

Entertainment content creation tools, including 3ds Max and Maya

Design & Make with Autodesk

  • Architecture, Engineering, Construction & Operations
  • Product Design & Manufacturing
  • Media & Entertainment

Emerging Tech

  • Point of View
  • Report home
  • Introduction
  • About the report
  • Key theme: Business Resilience
  • — Optimism returns
  • — Cost control
  • — Digital maturity
  • — All-in on AI
  • Key theme: Talent
  • — Upskilling
  • — Talent crunch
  • Key theme: Sustainability
  • — Sustainability actions
  • — Business health
  • AECO industry
  • D&M industry
  • M&E industry

Design & Make

Stories to inspire leaders in Design and Make industries creating a better world for future generations

Cyclists on a tandem bike ride along a path with the Vancouver skyline in the background.

Equitable urbanism: How AI advances inclusive city planning and resource allocation

A diverse group of individual in an office setting, with two men in VR goggles

Embracing neurodiversity: The revolutionary swyvl XR platform

A woman with a laptop stands in a large room full of hundreds of data servers.

Can sustainable AI practices overcome the problem of AI’s power consumption?

“Help Wanted” sign in a storefront window

Tackling labor shortage: Design and Make industry strategies post Great Resignation

Woman carrying belongings with happy retirement sign and balloons

With baby boomers retiring, companies get creative to get ahead of the talent gap

Perigee Aerospace’s Blue Whale 1 space launch vehicle blasting off

Perigee Aerospace sustainable rocket launches blast off into the NewSpace era

Image courtesy of Perigee Aerospace.

Explore all industries

A man wearing VR glasses is sitting at a desk with a building model projected on it.

10 ways to build better, faster, and greener with advanced construction technology

Underwater shot of woman swimming over coral reef wearing Decathlon React diving fins

The new Decathlon diving fin is an eco-conscious design revolution

Image courtesy of Decathlon.

Science Park in Mumbai exterior rendering by Hiten Sethi & Associates

Science Park in Mumbai pursues a vision of sustainable architecture

Image courtesy of Hiten Sethi & Associates.

A rendering of an electric utility vehicle

How generative AI helped design a unique Yamaha EV for farming terrain

Image courtesy of Final Aim.

Bird Paradise Singapore under construction aerial view

Bird Paradise in Singapore puts nature first with advanced design

Image courtesy of Obayashi Corporation.

A futuristic AI-generated structure is evocative of a greenhouse.

How generative AI for architecture is transforming design

Image courtesy of Stephen Coorlas.

research on engineering design process

Autodesk Informed Design connects design and make from day one

Autodesk research.

research on engineering design process

Connect with our Research Connections Series: Cuebric

Trending now.

A rendering of Chicago’s 111 W. Monroe office complex, which is being redeveloped into residences

Meet one tool to rule all office-to-residential conversion

Image courtesy of Stantec

research on engineering design process

How manufacturers can learn to trust in AI

Engineers work on a suspended bridge in rural Rwanda

Bridges to Prosperity connects communities with help from AI

Image courtesy of Bridges to Prosperity

research on engineering design process

NASA’s evolved structures fuel new space missions

3D rendering of the front of Christ Church Cathedral in New Zealand

Rebuilding Christ Church Cathedral in New Zealand

research on engineering design process

What material does a 3D Printer use? Plastic, metal, and more

Industry clouds break down silos and connect data, processes, and workflows.

Get data to the right people at the right time with an industry cloud

Image showing the future of media and entertainment where actor is on set with production crew in front of green screen hooked up to nodes to track movements

The future of media and entertainment may be an AI-driven cloud-platform dream

Illustration about AI in the Design and Make industries

How will AI revolutionize human innovation?

Lake | Flato’s headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, repurposed from a 100-year-old building using sustainable technology

Lake|Flato transforms a historic building into a dream office with adaptive reuse

Courtesy of Robert G Gomez.

SCUBA diver places 3D printed coral skeletons on sandy ocean floor.

Tech-driven innovations bolster coral reef conservation

Never miss a story. subscribe to our newsletter..

Learn how companies are designing and making a better world through innovation; keep up with accelerating technological advancements; and discover insights about the drivers of change impacting your industry.

Privacy | Do not sell or share my personal information | Cookie preferences | Report noncompliance | Terms of use | Legal  |  © 2024 Autodesk Inc. All rights reserved

IMAGES

  1. Engineering Design Process

    research on engineering design process

  2. What is the Engineering Design Process? A Complete Guide

    research on engineering design process

  3. Engineering Design Process in 7 Steps

    research on engineering design process

  4. The 7 Steps of the Engineering Design Process

    research on engineering design process

  5. Engineering Design Process

    research on engineering design process

  6. 12-step engineering design process (International Technology and

    research on engineering design process

VIDEO

  1. ENGINEERING Design Process

  2. Concept generation Engineering design process

  3. Engineering Design Process Kelompok 7

  4. Engineering Design Process Kelompok 3

  5. Engineering Design Process Kelompok 1

  6. Engineering Design Process Kelompok 4

COMMENTS

  1. Research methods in engineering design: a synthesis of recent studies

    The relation between scientific research and engineering design is fraught with controversy. While the number of academic PhD programs on design grows, because the discipline is in its infancy, there is no consolidated method for systematically approaching the generation of knowledge in this domain. This paper reviews recently published papers from four top-ranked journals in engineering ...

  2. Engineering Design Process

    The engineering design process emphasizes open-ended problem solving and encourages students to learn from failure. This process nurtures students' abilities to create innovative solutions to challenges in any subject! The engineering design process is a series of steps that guides engineering teams as we solve problems.

  3. Engineering Design Process

    The engineering design process begins by defining a problem and completing background research on the problem. Requirements are specified and a solution is chosen. A prototype of the solution is built and then tested. If the solution built meets the requirements then the results can be shared. If the solution does not meet all the requirements ...

  4. (PDF) Research methods in engineering design: a synthesis of recent

    The relation between scientific research and engineering design is fraught with controversy. While the number of academic PhD programs on design grows, because the discipline is in its infancy ...

  5. Engineering design process

    The engineering design process, also known as the engineering method, is a common series of steps that engineers use in creating functional products and processes. The process is highly iterative - parts of the process often need to be repeated many times before another can be entered - though the part(s) that get iterated and the number of such cycles in any given project may vary.

  6. Home

    Research in Engineering Design is a journal that publishes research papers on design theory and methodology across all engineering fields. Focuses on mechanical, civil, architectural, and manufacturing engineering. Emphasizes the underlying principles of engineering design. Examines theories of design, foundations of design environments, and ...

  7. PDF Research Trends and Issues of Engineering Design Process for STEM

    development, design thinking and computational thinking, STEM competencies, scientific inquiry, and gender gaps in STEM education. Keywords Engineering design process STEM education K-12 Bibliometric analysis VOSviewer Introduction There is a growing emphasis on implementation of 'engineering design process' (EDP) for STEM education in

  8. Design science research

    Design science. The aim of the work presented here was to identify a methodology by using design science research techniques to study the development of the LCC model and the iterative refinement of the labs' design in order to improve the students' understanding of transient responses in electric circuits. Mitcham (Citation 1994), for example, has pointed out the importance of design in ...

  9. (PDF) Engineering Design Process

    The ABET definition states. that engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet. desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which ...

  10. What is the Engineering Design Process? A Complete Guide

    The engineering design process is a series of steps that engineers follow to find a solution to a problem. The steps include problem solving processes such as, for example, determining your objectives and constraints, prototyping, testing and evaluation. The process is important to the work conducted by TWI and is something that we can offer ...

  11. Engineering Design Processes: A Comparison of Students and Expert

    Abstract and Figures. In this paper we report on an in-depth study of engineering design processes. Specifically, we extend our previous research on engineering student design processes to compare ...

  12. PDF The Engineering Design Process

    The Engineering Design Process. Step 1:Define problem Step. Step 6: Communication of solution & possible re-design. Step 2: Assemble data & research. Step 5: Test & select Step solutions. Step 3: Identify constraints. Step 4: Develop solutions & alternatives.

  13. Effects of infusing the engineering design process into STEM project

    An increasing number of position papers and empirical studies have focused on exploring the issues of engineering design thinking (Brand, 2020; English & King, 2015).With regard to the cognitive structure of technology teachers in engineering design, Atman et al. studied the differences between expert practitioners and students during the engineering design process.

  14. What is Engineering Design Process?

    Fletcher and Shoup (1978) viewed engineering as. "an applied science which deals with the planning, design, construction, testing, management or operation of facilities, machine, structures, and other devices used by all segments of society" (Flether & Shoup, 1978, p. 2). The applied science approach attempted to define the design process ...

  15. Comparing the Engineering Design Process and the Scientific Method

    If your hypothesis is disproved, then you can go back with the new information gained and create a new hypothesis to start the scientific process over again. Image Credit: created by Amy Cowen for Science Buddies / Science Buddies. The engineering design process begins by defining a problem and completing background research on the problem.

  16. PDF Research methods in engineering design: a synthesis of ...

    term 'design as research' in a volume that compiled dis-courses of experts about questions on design research and its relationship with other disciplines. Vaughan (2017) pre-sented a survey that collected different points of view related to doctoral education in the opinions of design graduates about practice-based research design.

  17. Process models in design and development

    The process areas can be categorised into core processes that directly create value, support processes, and management/control processes. Engineering design is mainly represented within 1 of the 22 process areas, although as a core value-adding process, it interacts strongly with the rest of the system.

  18. Understanding the Engineering Design Process: Teachers Embracing

    Both the scientific method and the engineering method (or engineering design process) are typically represented as a set of steps that help guide a project, investigation, innovation, or experiment. ... (Research paper written before starting to identify the problem. This research documents what solutions exist, what has been tried, and what ...

  19. PDF Research Methods for Engineers

    ducting high-quality engineering research. Plan and implement your next project for maximum impact Step-by-step instructions that cover every stage in engineering ... 3.3 The elements of a research proposal 79 3.4 Design for outcomes 94 3.5 The research tools 101 3.6 Chapter summary 110 Exercises 110 References 112 4 Statistical analysis 114

  20. PDF ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS

    Engineering is the creative process of turning abstract ideas into physical representations (products or systems). What distinguishes engineers from painters, poets, or sculptors is that engineers apply their creative energies to producing products or systems that meet human needs. This creative act is called design.

  21. Why the Engineering Design Process is Important

    The engineering design process is a series of steps that engineers follow to find a solution to a problem. The process combines mathematics, applied science, and engineering sciences to optimize and meet the requirements needed for the project to succeed. The steps in the engineering design process aren't always followed in a particular order ...

  22. Bradley Camburn

    In International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Vol. 59278, p. V007T06A006). American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Camburn, B. and Wood, K., 2018. Principles of maker and DIY fabrication: Enabling design prototypes at low cost. Design Studies, 58, pp.63-88.

  23. Summer SAVY, Session 5 Day 2, Engineering Design (Lewis) (1st

    Today in Engineering Design, we kept the learning moving! After a quick name game to get to know each other a little more, we jumped into understanding engineering. Students started by exploring connections between the story Javier Builds a Bridge and the Engineering Design Process. We found how Javier asked questions, imagined different ideas for...

  24. Evaluation and Analysis of Trace Impurity Migration Pathways on the

    Separation and purification of fine chemicals with minor or trace amounts of impurity, for instance, metal ions, to produce high-end and high-pure chemicals has been of utmost importance in recent years. Understanding the key factors and impurity migration pathways is critical to designing a highly efficient crystallization-based purification process. This study combines theoretical models ...

  25. Step 0: Introduction to the Engineering Design Process

    In the design analysis stage, engineers hold meetings with clients and potential users to develop a conceptual understanding of the problem they are trying to solve. They will then explore the problem through research, interviews, and site visits. In the solution stage, the conceptual understanding is translated into a physical object or system ...

  26. Participation in The FOCAPD2024 (Foundations of Computer Aided Process

    We are excited to announce our involvement in this prestigious event, where we will present our latest research contributions: Javiera Vergara-Zambrano, Styliani Avraamidou - A mathematical programming optimization framework for wind farm design considering multi-directional wake effect.

  27. Information Systems IE&IS

    Against this background, IS research concentrates on the following topics: Business model design and service systems engineering for digital services. Managing digital transformation. Data-driven business process engineering and execution. Innovative process modeling techniques and execution engines. Human aspects of information systems ...

  28. An experimental investigation on 3d printing of PETG-KF-based

    This design method is useful for the systematic change and analysis of the chosen process parameters over a range of levels and possible combinations of the selected settings. An orthogonal array is an organized matrix that allows for cost and time efficient experimentation, reducing the number of necessary runs while allowing as much data to ...

  29. Aims and scope

    Research in Engineering Design is an international journal that publishes research papers on design theory and methodology in all fields of engineering, focussing on mechanical, civil, architectural, and manufacturing engineering. The journal is designed for professionals in academia, industry and government interested in research issues ...

  30. Design and Make with Autodesk

    Design & Make with Autodesk tells stories to inspire leaders in architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and entertainment to design and make a better world. ... Autodesk Research. Exploring Carbon-Negative Materials: Autodesk Research's Path to Net-Zero Buildings Read article. Trending now.