Task interpretation and self-regulating strategies in engineering design project: an exploratory study

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

118th Annual Conference Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education


Vancouver, B.C.

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Task Interpretation and Self-regulating Strategies in Engineering Design Project: An exploratory study Abstract Design tasks are ubiquitous, complex, ill-structured, and often offer substantial challenges to students and professional engineering designers. Successful designing depends on having not only adequate knowledge but also sufficient awareness and control of that knowledge, known as metacognition. The research suggests that metacognition not only enhances learning outcomes but it also encourages students to be self-regulated learners who are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process. This exploratory study evaluates the extent to which students’ task interpretation of the design project is reflected on their working plans and selected cognitive strategies. Butler and Cartier’s(2005) Self-regulated Learning (SRL) model was used to evaluate the dynamic and iterative interplay between metacognitive and cognitive activity. SRL dimension such as design planning, design process, task management, and task value were evaluated. Twelve engineering freshman students at Utah State University (USU) participated in the study while they engaged in an engineering design project for a mechanical engineering “Engineering Graphics” course. Students were asked to complete the Engineering Design Questionnaire (EDQ) at the early, during, and final stages of their design project. Data collected were evaluated qualitatively using graphical views. In addition, the mean value of each item from the same SRL dimension was compared across SRL episodes (i.e., task interpretation, planning strategies, cognitive strategies, monitoring and fix up strategies, and criteria). From the analysis, the findings suggest that the level of understanding of the task was clearly reflected in students’ plans. Students did not excel in monitoring and regulating their design planning but did excel in monitoring and regulating their design process and task management. Low scores indicate a lack of students’ consideration in looking for alternative approaches to investigating the problem, design solution, time planning, and the effective use of resources and materials during the project.

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