The effect of problem type on the strategies used by novice designers

2006-05-05T10:22:14Z (GMT) by Malcolm Welch Hee Sook Lim
Previous research by the author demonstrated that untutored Year 7 students produce a solution to a design-and-make task in ways significantly different to those prescribed by textbooks. However, the strategy used may have been a function of the particular design brief and how it was presented. The follow-up study described here addressed the question: Is the design strategy used by novices dependent on the task? Four Year 7 dyads were video recorded while designing and making a solution to a specific task. Comparisons were made between dyads in the current study, between each dyad and a map of the theoretical model, and between dyads in both studies. Analysis showed no significant difference between dyads in the current study, nor between dyads in the two studies, but confirmed significant differences between dyads' strategies and those described in the literature. Students did not use two-dimensional modelling to explore and communicate a design proposal, nor did they generate multiple solutions. They moved immediately to three-dimensional modelling, but often lacked the requisite skills to develop their ideas. While students used the design process skills identified in theoretical models their strategy was less linear and more iterative.