The effects of examples on the use of knowledge in a student design activity: the case of the Flying Dutchman

H. Christiaans, J.A. Andel, van

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In this pilot study, two different ways of presenting information for industrial design students on the psychological aspects of the design of a go-cart were compared. The search for information from external sources and the use of this information in different phases of the design process were also studied. In the control group, students were only given general information on six psychological topics of their design problem, while in the experimental group, students received more detailed information using verbal and visual examples. In this way and by stimulating the students to actively ‘work’ with the information, proceduralization of the transferred declarative knowledge was supposed to take place. Analysis of the students' reports describing their design process, information sources and decisions, showed that play-information was mainly used in the information phase of the design process. The main difference between the control and experimental groups was that students from the experimental group mentioned more specific information on play activities in their reports, while the control group mentioned more general information on the attitudes and taste of the users. Comparison of the prototypes, working models of the go-cart, showed that the experimental group scored significantly higher on three child-related aspects: the carts trigger the child's fantasy, are multifunctional and are more suitable for social play-activities. On the other hand, the go-carts of the control group were judged to be more suitable for older children. These differences between the two groups cannot be explained by differences in design ability as measured by the educational staff, but appear to be related to the differences in conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-74
Number of pages17
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993


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