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ERIC Number: ED401491
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
The Problem-Solving Strategies of Young Designers.
Welch, Malcolm
A study was conducted to examine the observation that untutored Grade 7 students appeared to have tacit knowledge of how to solve problems in a technological context. Left to their own devices in an environment rich in three-dimensional materials, they frequently designed a solution to a problem in unique and creative ways. Based on experts' opinions, the literature describing the design process showed a model of designing as a set of procedures to be followed that did not seem to reflect what novice designers actually did. Ten Canadian Grade 7 students were paired into five single-sex dyads to reflect the real world of technology. Each dyad was provided with a design brief that described the technological problem to be solved. Analysis involved transcribing and segmenting subjects' talk during the problem-solving session and retrospective interviews. A coding scheme was developed to reflect the problem-solving nature of designing. The design strategy of each dyad was represented in the form of a computer-generated "map." Comparisons between the strategies used by the dyads and a theoretical model indicated four very significant differences: students' strategies were more complex than suggested by any of the linear models; subjects generated solutions serially rather than generating several at the outset; the preferred strategy for developing ideas was modeling in three-dimensional terms; and evaluating was an integral and ongoing activity during design. (Eight figures and 65 references are included.) (YLB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 1996). Some graphs contain light type.