The Impact of Teaming and Cognitive Style on Student Perceptions of Design Ideation Outcomes

Jablokow, Kathryn
Teerlink, Wesley
McKilligan, Seda
Yilmaz, Seda
Daly, Shanna
Silk, Eli
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Industrial Design
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Industrial Design

The Impact of Teaming and Problem Solving Style on Student Perceptions of Design Ideation Out comes The importance of idea generation (ideation) within the engineering design process is recognized in academic and industrial settings alike. The collaborative nature of engineering design is also well-established, with individuals of differing personalities, technical backgrounds, and levels of experience coming together to meet shared design objectives. Engineering educators routinely put students in design teams to complete both simple and complex projects, with the assessment of students’ individual differences becoming increasingly common. Our goal for this study was to explore the extent to which teaming and problem solving style, respectively, impact the perceptions of students about the creativity, diversity, and elaborateness of their ideas, as well as their perceptions of the relative difficulty of generating ideas alone or with another person.To this end, a study was conducted with 122 students participating in a variety of engineering-related programs across three Midwestern universities. Student academic level ranged from high school students participating in a pre-engineering program to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in engineering and design degree programs. All students engaged in two separate ideation sessions (one individually and one in pairs) and completed a problem solving style inventory (KAI®). For the first session, students were asked to generate solutions to adesign problem individually using words and sketches. After this first ideation exercise, students were asked to generate ideas for a new problem in a two-person team, recording their ideas separately on their own individual worksheets. For each idea generated in the paired session,students were also asked to indicate which person of the two first verbalized each idea, as well a show much each person contributed to the idea’s generation and development.Following each ideation session, students completed a short reflection survey (individually) to provide insights into how they perceived their own ideation during the session. In particular, the students were asked to evaluate how creative, diverse, and elaborate their ideas were, along with the level of difficulty they experienced generating ideas under each condition. These student perceptions were analyzed for differences between the individual and paired ideation sessions. In addition, correlations between the students’ perceptions (from both sessions) and their individual problem solving styles were examined to determine whether perceptions differed between the more adaptive (more structured) and the more innovative (less structured) problem solvers, as measured by KAI ®. Preliminary results suggest that student perceptions of both the diversity and the elaborateness of their ideas are influenced by teaming and/or problem solving style. This paper will report on the details of our experimental procedure, the results of our analyses, and the implications of these results in the engineering classroom.


This is a proceedings from 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June 14-17, 2015. Posted with permission.