DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Persaud, Stefan; Flipsen, Bas
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft, Netherlands
Section: Responsible innovation in design and engineering education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.58
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


In September 2021 the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) implemented a completely revised bachelor. Important differences between the old and the new bachelor are its focus on design for higher complexity, the teacher as a coach, and the need for students to learn in an autonomous way. Within the bachelor’s course Understanding Product Engineering (UPE), first year engineering students are introduced to the world of physical embodiment of products. This includes materials and design, manufacturing techniques, functional analysis, product architecture and mechanics modeling. In the past years we used a classical approach in teaching mechanics of materials using direct instructions and problem-based learning as the learning approach. Unfortunately, many design coaches observed that the acquired engineering knowledge was applied superficially or even left out of scope in several students’ capstone design projects. To stimulate autonomous learning and increase the retention time of theory and skills on mechanics of materials we introduced Productive Failure (PF) as our pedagogical framework in UPE. Many papers show positive results of this framework and prove it works for different situations. In the cohort of 2021-2022 we used PF for the first time as our main framework and applied it in our teaching and workshops. Based on our reflections and students’ feedback we found out that some workshops worked better than others, but we also concluded that the general approach of the PF pedagogy was lacking a translation into an effective design of the workshops. This paper will present our first iteration on designing the didactical model consisting of lectures, workshops, and self-study. The model builds upon constructive alignment, where learning objectives, activities, and assessment are designed side-by-side. Based on the learning objectives, first the final summative assessment is designed. With this as a backbone, the weekly workshops are developed, consisting of a formative assessment (in the form of a quiz), workshop assignments, and an instructive video. We propose a hands-on model which aids in applying the PF pedagogy in engineering courses, consisting of a method to develop workshop assignments and a didactical approach to guide and coach students through the process. We will show how we applied this model in our own first-year bachelor course Understanding Product Engineering. We will reflect on our learnings on the interdependence of PF pedagogy and our didactical application in the second iteration of the course. The paper will finalize with an outlook where we will present our future research on the retention time when applying this method in UPE and other engineering courses at IDE.

Keywords: autonomous learning, productive failure, direct instruction, product engineering, engineering mechanics


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