Using 3-D Models to Train Engineering Designers

DS 58-10: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 10, Design Education and Lifelong Learning, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Field, Bruce William; Burvill, Colin A; Alirezaee, Tayebeh
Series: ICED
Section: Design Education and Lifelong Learning
Page(s): 47-56


During a study of the learning capabilities of injection machine operators, it was found that many had limited spatial skills. Previous studies with naïve engineering designers had found that those with low visual skills had difficulties in reading engineering drawings, and since the training material for machine operators principally comprised technical cross sections, some learning difficulties were anticipated. Some success was gained by using a 3-D wooden model in the operators? training, so the approach was adapted to train engineering designers . The spatial skill of forty-two trainee designers was measured, and a model of an injection molding machine was made. Half the trainees were instructed on aspects of injection molding design using the model, and half by using conventional 2-D teaching materials. It was found that trainees with high visual skills learned equally well from both approaches, but those with low visual skill learned much more effectively when their training involved the use of the 3-D model. It would appear that more effective engineering design education across a wider range of abilities might be achieved by a greater use of 3-D teaching tools.

Keywords: artifacts, visual skill, learning preferences


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