The development of three-dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) modelling strategies and an investigation into their impact on novice users
thesisposted on 14.10.2009 by Clare Allsop
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a tremendously powerful tool within the design industry, yet when used inappropriately, can be a hindrance to product designers. Employing ineffective CAD modelling strategies (CMS) can lead to increased project costs as a result of an unnecessary amount of time being spent making design changes to the product. However, when CMS are implemented effectively, it has been shown that novice CAD users can not only create an accurate three-dimensional (3D) representation of a product, but are able to make key design changes quickly and effectively (a skill often associated with practiced CAD users). The submission detailed herein documents the development of 3D CAD modelling strategies and the investigation into their impact on novice users. The submission has been split into eleven chapters. The subject is introduced in Chapter One, where the background and structure of the research is considered, as well as the implications of lack of CAD experience for novice CAD users. Some initial research aims were generated, which are examined in the Exploratory Study detailed in Chapter Two. This includes an exploratory review of literature together with details of the initial studies involving CAD users, where it was found that there were potential benefits of communicating CMS to novice CAD users. Having examined the prior art in the field, a theme emerges regarding the benefits of communicating CMS to product designers and focused research aims are presented. The research methodology is considered in Chapter Three, which outlines the databases built to manage the periodic review of literature, to ensure that methodologies were in place to draw meaningful results from the data, both qualitative and quantitative. The pilot study, used to understand how designers implemented strategies when modelling on CAD is discussed in Chapter Four, which lead to the definition of the content of the CAD Modelling Strategies Support (CMSS) material in Chapter Five. Following this, a systematic review of literature on the subject of teaching and learning is discussed in Chapter Six, including pedagogical issues such as the Experiential Learning Theory and visualisation, where a blended learning approach was identified as being the most appropriate method with which to present the CMSS material. The CMSS material was then piloted a number of times within the Pilot Study Two phase detailed in Chapter Seven. The final CMSS material is then outlined in Chapter Eight, which was later evaluated against the emergent theme, as documented in Chapter Nine. The discussion continues in Chapter Ten where it was found that the participants exposed to the CMSS material had used a more effective strategy to model a product on CAD than those who did not use the material (the Control Group). This resulted in them being able to make key design changes to their models in approximately half the time of the Control Group. It was found that the CMSS material produced competent CAD users who could easily make design changes to their models, which inferred implications on the teaching and learning of CAD. Overall conclusions and recommendations relating to the research are drawn in Chapter Eleven that, again, bear direct relevance to how product designers learn to use CAD.