A quantitative analysis of prototype use found in students' projects

Petrakis, Konstantinos and Wodehouse, Andrew and Hird, Abigail; Bohemia, Erik and Kovacevic, Ahmed and Buck, Lyndon and Brisco, Ross and Evans, Dorothy and Grierson, Hilary and Ion, William and Whitfield, Robert Ian, eds. (2019) A quantitative analysis of prototype use found in students' projects. In: Towards a New Innovation Landscape. Institution of Engineering Designers, GBR. ISBN 9781912254057 (https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.8)

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Prototyping constitutes an inseparable part of engineering design academic courses and a significant topic of design education. According to relevant literature, especially physical prototypes along with the actual process of model building have been proved to be very beneficial as they boost students’ creativity and resourcefulness and assist them in evaluating their ideas better. Nevertheless, their use of prototypes has still not been explored in depth to be clearly understood and transformed into explicit instructions for informing design education. The main goal of this study is to explore how students make use of prototypes and understand the reasoning behind their prototyping activities. This is achieved by identifying instances of prototype use in projects and performing a quantitative analysis according to the explicit purpose of their prototyping activities. The results confirm students’ limited scope of prototype use during the early design stages, show their unfamiliarity with prototypes’ less explored roles and present the purposes which are mostly used during the projects. Such results could lead to the creation of a framework of guidelines which presents the prototyping process in a more structured way, aimed at engineering design students and design education practices.