AN INSIGHT INTO THE USE OF PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING WITHIN DISTRIBUTED DESIGN STUDENT PROJECTS
DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Cristoloveanu, Andreea; Basangova, Anastasia; Hawchar, Khodr; Mason, Christopher; Kovacevic, Ahmed
Institution: 1Engineering Student, City University London, 2Professor in Engineering Design and Compressor Technology, City University London
As technology is evolving, the complexity of design projects is increasing. Hence, it is becoming
imperative to employ distributed design, which allows people from different academic backgrounds,
cultures and disciplines to work collaboratively towards the development of a viable solution to a
specific problem. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the experience gained by students while
integrating various tools to enhance learning and the utilisation of various elements of a student
distributed design project. Students at four different universities across Europe tackled the challenge of
finding the optimal way of deploying design, management and engineering expertise with the aim to
solve the open-ended problem of designing a more effective and innovative aeroplane seatbelt.
Students engaged using different online communication tools in order to share thinking strategies and
specific domain knowledge with regard to the use of various design methods, which was essentially
problem-based learning. The open-ended nature of the project allowed each team the freedom to have
its own unique vision; this enabled participants to explore a range of different tools for various stages
of the design process.
This study will provide an in-depth analysis of the experience gained during the design of the
aeroplane seatbelt. The project represented a valuable platform for learning due to the exposure to the
challenges encountered while working as part of a distributed design team and the familiarity gained
on the benefits and constraints of the various design methods employed. The insights presented will
form the foundation for the development of a group decision-making framework within the more
challenging environment of the EGPR-NARIP 2016 project and real-life problem-solving.