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National Science Foundation – Research in Engineering Education (REE)
Quantifying Differences Between Professional Expert Engineers and Engineering Students Designing: Empirical Foundations for Improved Engineering Education.

PI: Kurt Becker, PhD


Understanding the difference between developing learners and an expert target performance is essential to the identification of appropriate learning experiences to move learners along the trajectory to becoming experts. However, the design cognition of expert design engineers is inadequately characterized. This project measures and compares the design thinking of engineering students and expert engineers through a study of their cognitive processes while designing. It uses tools and processes developed in previously funded NSF projects to provide a uniform basis for comparing students and experts that is independent of the educational and experiential background of the participants.

Funding Amount: $311,868
Duration of Project: September 2015 to August 2018