Towards the Definition and Development of Expertise in the Use of Constraint-based CAD Tools: Examining Practicing Professionals

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Title: Towards the Definition and Development of Expertise in the Use of Constraint-based CAD Tools: Examining Practicing Professionals
Author: Hartman, Nathan William
Advisors: Dr. Theodore J. Branoff, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. V. William Deluca, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Aaron C. Clark, Committee Member
Dr. Don L. Martin, Committee Member
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine the development of expertise in the use of constraint-based CAD tools. There has been a significant shift towards the use of these tools in engineering and design environments in the last ten years, yet without a comparable shift within the academic environment. This cannot continue if engineering graphics is to continue as a viable domain within the larger disciplines of engineering design and technology education. Using methods adapted from phenomenological inquiry and cognitive psychology, practicing engineering design professionals were assessed in an effort to gauge their mental models and problem-solving processes to form an initial definition of the domain of constraint-based CAD tools, as well as the experiences that contributed to their development of expertise. Interviews and observations were used to gather data relevant to the experiences of the participants, while a knowledge-mapping task and think-aloud modeling task were used to examine the participants' modeling strategies used in creating a 3D model and their organization of the concepts surrounding this knowledge domain. The results of this study yielded fifteen constituent themes of expertise based on the data collected from the observations. It also produced seven additional themes related to the personal experiences and conceptions of expertise of each participant obtained by the interview data. These two sets of thematic elements comprised the initial developmental factors of expertise. The think-aloud modeling tasks captured the modeling procedures employed by the participants in creating a 3D model, which looked specifically at their CAD tool usage and how they applied their background knowledge to solve a design modeling problem. Finally, the knowledge-mapping tasks captured each participant's organization of the major concepts related to the use of constraint-based CAD tools. The conclusions drawn from this study provided an initial look at the development of expertise in the use of constraint-based CAD tools. Recommendations for further research were also provided.
Date: 2003-03-11
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Math, Science and Technology Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5302


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