Transfer of Engineering Experience by Shared Mental Models

DS 74: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE12) Design Education for Future Wellbeing, Antwerp, Belguim, 06-07.9.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Albers, Albert; Turki, Tarak; Lohmeyer, Quentin
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany
Section: Design Methods - Modelling
Page(s): 077-082
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


The transfer of experience is a great challenge in design education and several approaches support this transfer process. Students gain their own experience in educational project works or they learn from the experiences of their lecturers and tutors. This paper considers the transfer of engineering experience by shared mental model. A mental model is an explanation of someone's thought process about how something works in the real world. In design education the lecturer, who in general is more experienced in analyzing and solving design problems, explains his or her own mental models to the students, in order to share the mental models and thus to transfer experiences. This paper presents a case study that analyses the support of sharing mental models by application of a special type of mechanical design tasks. A case study, which contains a test group of 30 students and a comparison group of 15 students, considers the shared mental models of schematic diagrams as well as shared mental models of designing technical systems. The case study’s results finally lead to an explanatory model that illustrates the process of experience transfer by the interdependencies of real world, mental models and design patterns.

Keywords: Experience transfer, mental models, design pattern


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