Computers and the development of design decision making skills

Ann Blandford, N Cross, E Scanlon
in COMPUTERS & EDUCATION, Journal article


We are concerned with supporting engineering students as they acquire the critical thinking skills which are needed in design practice and, in particular, with exploring the requirements of a computer based tool to support students in the acquisition of design decision making skills. In this paper, we describe the current implementation of a decision support tool and discuss some of the background and context which have influenced the design. The decision support tool consists of a spreadsheet-like data manipulation component, in which information relevant to the decision making task can be noted and manipulated, together with a dialogue component which collaborates with the student, encouraging them to articulate and reflect on both the current problem and their problem solving strategy, and providing help and explanations when required. So far, a first prototype of this decision support tool has been implemented and a period of formative testing has been carried out. The results of this test have been used to guide modifications to the design and implementation of the tool. © 1994.