Applied tests of engineering design skills: Visual thinking characterization, test development and validation

Jami J. Shah, Jay Woodward, S. M. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

A number of cognitive skills relevant to conceptual design have been previously identified: Divergent Thinking, Visual Thinking, Spatial Reasoning, Qualitative Reasoning and Problem Formulation. A battery of standardized test has been developed for these skills. We have already reported on the contents and rationale for divergent thinking test, as well as, on data collection and statistical analysis for it. This paper focuses similarly on the efforts related to the visual thinking and spatial reasoning in engineering context. It is designed to evaluate six measures: visual comprehension including perceptual speed, visual memory, visual synthesis mental image manipulation/ transformation, spatial reasoning and graphical expression/elaboration. We discuss the theoretical basis of a comprehensive test for engineers, test composition, trial runs and computation of reliability measures. The alpha version was given to a small set of subjects to determine clarity of the questions and gauge difficulty level. The beta version was used for norming and test validation from over 300 samples, engineering students and a smaller number of practicing engineers. The test is shown to be reliable (Cronbach alpha less than .05 and only 2 eigenvalues greater than 1).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design
Pages127-139
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Event18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: Aug 15 2011Aug 18 2011

Publication series

NameICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design
Volume7

Other

Other18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11
CountryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period8/15/118/18/11

Keywords

  • Design cognition
  • Engineering design skills
  • Ideation
  • Standardized tests
  • Visual thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Shah, J. J., Woodward, J., & Smith, S. M. (2011). Applied tests of engineering design skills: Visual thinking characterization, test development and validation. In ICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design (pp. 127-139). (ICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design; Vol. 7).