APPLIED TESTS OF ENGINEERING DESIGN SKILLS:VISUAL THINKING CHARACTERIZATION, TEST
DS 68-7: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 7: Human Behaviour in Design, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
A number of cognitive skills relevant to conceptual design have been previously identified. We have already reported on the contents, rationale and validation of divergent thinking test. This paper focuses similarly on the efforts related to the visual thinking and spatial reasoning in engineering context. It is designed to evaluate six measures: visual comprehension including perceptual speed, visual memory, visual synthesis mental image manipulation/ transformation, spatial reasoning and graphical expression/elaboration. We discuss the theoretical basis of a comprehensive test for engineers, test composition, trial runs and computation of reliability measures. The alpha version was given to a small set of subjects to determine clarity of the questions and gauge difficulty level. The beta version was used for norming and test validation from over 300 samples, engineering students and a smaller number of practicing engineers. The test is shown to be reliable (Cronbach alpha less than 0.05and only 2 eigenvalues greater than 1).