The effectiveness of teaching structured ideation to high school engineering design students

Shawn Farrington, Purdue University


This study explored the effectiveness of teaching structured ideation to high school engineering design students. Ideation allows for quality ideas and opportunities to fuel the engineering design process, but requires abstract thought and focus to be highly effective. The quasi-experimental study was conducted with high school students in two Midwestern U.S. high schools (School A and School B) that teach a pre-engineering and technology curriculum called Project Lead the Way with at least two sections of Introduction to Engineering Design to make a comparison. Participants of this study received ideation criteria in a lectured based format and had 30 minutes to ideate. The criteria given to the comparison group came from Project Lead the Way. The structured criteria for the treatment group was synthesized from IDEO and The Stanford Design School. It was hypothesized that structured ideation guidelines will improve how many ideas the student teams (n=39) developed and if unusual ideas were included. The study found that the treatment group developed significantly more ideas than the comparison group in School A, but not School B. The treatment groups did not include significantly more unusual ideas at either school. It was concluded that because the treatment had a statistically significant effect at School A, and the difference in mean ideas at School B was so slight, the treatment was not worse at producing more ideas or including unusual ideas.




Mentzer, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Design|Secondary education|Science education

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