Design process and conscious problem solving through computer aided design education


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The Design Society

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With rapidly changing technologies in product developemnt, it is necessary for design students to focus on inquiry-based learning in order to adapt to changes instead of simply learning form-giving and model-making skills. This paper seeks to explore how digital model making computer-aided design (CAD) skills can be learned in congruence with these new demands. A case study was chosen to exemplify how a practical training can be used as a tool for self-learning management. Students were observed in a learning situation where they use SolidWorks feature tools for the first time. As an alternative to being guided gradually, by repeating commands presented by instructor, they were encouraged to discover SolidWorks features through modeling a sketch-represented concept. This way of introducing the software features opened possibilities for conscious problem solving. This process led students not only to learn how to use the software effectively but also to understand the applicable value of this tool. The theory of communities of practice was used to examine students’ situational subjective experience in order to evaluate sources of motivation for further learning the software. The results indicate how student efficacy and motivation to learn SolidWorks can increase through tailored learning experiences. Finally, the paper reflects on societal demands and expectations for reeducation where students should self-manage their learning process in both training and productive practice.


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