Explicit heuristic training as a variable in design problem-solving

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Eckersley, Michael D.
Spoerner, Thomas M.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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Purpose of the Investigation. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether a treatment of design-related heuristics would affect the judged value of student design products. Procedures. Subjects consisted of 38 foundation-level design students at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. Following five weeks of basic design instruction, a pretest, constructed to measure design problem-solving performance in relation to two problem-types (a Baseline Problem and a Conceptual Problem), was issued to two groups. Thereafter, a treatment of design-related heuristics was administered to one group; the other group served as a control. After a period of four weeks, in which both groups worked an identical series of problems, a post-test was issued.Evaluation of pre-test and post-test designs was performed by five designer/educators using a Design Evaluation Rating Scale, an instrument used to quantify judgments regarding six discrete evaluative criteria (i.e., General Impression, Completion, Figural Originality, Conceptual Originality, Aesthetic Value, and Functionalness). Two null hypotheses were tested which maintained that no significant interaction effects would occur for either the Baseline Problem or the Conceptual Problem between factors of (a) time-of-test (pre-test, post-test) and (b) group (experimental, control) for seven dependent variables (i.e., Overall Score, General Impression, Completion, Figural Originality, Conceptual Originality, Aesthetic Value, Functionalness). The .05 level of confidence was set as the critical level for rejection of hypotheses. Inter-rater reliability was computed, and found to be high for three of the four test problems.Results and'Conclusions1. Null Hypothesis Number one was rejected, suggesting that the heuristics treatment aided the experimental group in their performance on the Baseline Problem. Null Hypothesis Number Two was not rejected, suggesting that the treatment failed to aid the experimental group in their performance on the Conceptual Problem.2. Problem structure apparently affected the design problem-solving behavior and performance of the foundation-level design students, suggesting that highly complex or abstract problems are best reserved for more advanced design courses.3. A measured construct of "design value" can be operationally defined and expert judgments thereby quantified to validly measure the real-world value of design products