Engineering design educational model: From skills to objectives

Jose Gabriel Davila Rangel, University of Texas at El Paso


The objective of this thesis is to develop an engineering design educational pedagogy on how to improve the engineering design learning experience. The design engineering activity is a complex mix of skills and knowledge that has been taught over decades by directly delivering to the students the design methodologies developed by design researchers and by exposing the students to open ended projects that could develop their design skills. Understanding this we can conclude that the three main pedagogical components of a successful educational design experience are: the design skills, the design methods and the design projects. On one hand, the individual design skills must be properly developed in the student prior to the project experience, making it an overwhelming challenge. On the other hand the design methodologies can be difficult to implement didactically (i.e. teaching techniques), therefore the student struggles to learn, and even more importantly, to embrace such methodologies. We present an approach to design engineering teaching through seven main steps: First, define the desired skills to be acquired by the student during the learning process. Second, from the vast world of design research, select the proper design theories and methodologies that fulfill all the previous requirements of skills. Third, organize the knowledge and skills to be acquired in complexity levels. Fourth, generate educational objectives for each of the knowledge and skills. Fifth, based on educational theories (teaching styles, learning styles, etc.), transform the design skills and methodologies to didactic tasks (lectures, problems, exams, etc.) in such a way that the student will be able to develop their skills and, learn and embrace such methodologies. Sixth, implement the tasks individually along the curriculum as close ended design experiences. Seventh, expose the student to open ended multidisciplinary senior design projects to integrate all the educational design experience components. This model could serve initially as a diagnostic tool to characterize the current set of skills of a given design course or program. The model can also be used to implement educational tasks into the classroom and labs depending on the desired student profile.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Davila Rangel, Jose Gabriel, "Engineering design educational model: From skills to objectives" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1479550.