Part of the 4TU.Federation
4TU.
Centre for
Engineering Education

Project introduction and background information

Delft University of Technology is investing in Collaborative Design Labs for Education purposes, which allow for concurrent and integrated product development activities in virtual learning environments. 4TU.CEE in collaboration with LDE-CEL, will appoint a combined PhD and teaching support for 5 years starting July 2020. Concurrent Design in Engineering Education focuses on improving the efficiency of students’ engineering processes as well as training them in advanced, industry-relevant design techniques with a strong focus on team effort.

Specific use cases include, but are not limited to: facilitating bachelors design for system engineering projects and facilitating masters design studies. The lab will also facilitate collaborative design phases for student Dreamteams, graduate and undergraduate teams of TU Delft participating in competitions and challenges.

Objective and expected outcomes

The proposed research project shall deliver empirical evidence for effects on student motivation, efficient collaboration of different team perspectives, gain of students on specific skills in design teams, as well as the embedded use of different collaboration and personalised learning facilities in a Collaborative Design Lab (CDL). The CDL shall be used as a “design methods and -processes playground”.  

From an educational perspective, the collaborative design process makes designing very motivating – it is a highly interactive, dynamic, fast paced method of design. Students can see the holistic result of their work at the end of each stage iteration, which can be in as little time as a single day. The instruction design has the power to facilitate near-instantaneous feedback on the consequences of design decisions at the mission and system level. On a product or mission level, it enables to teach complex interactivity between customers and stakeholders and designers for a validated set of mission requirements and constraints. On a system level, it offers a powerful method to educate students on the inter-dependencies  between subsystems, also using (internal and external) reviews as an important driving force.

Results and learnings

Preliminary findings in a pilot run were:

  • Students become well versed in integrated design in engineering
  • It creates a rich exchange of ideas across various disciplines and across the world
  • Students’ teamwork skills and open communication are engaged in novel ways relevant to professional development