Higher educational institutions have broadly adopted Collaborative Engineering Design (CED) activities to prepare students for complex problem-solving in multidisciplinary settings. These activities are non-linear and mediated by various social practices and tools. Therefore educators might struggle in facilitating the achievement of specific learning goals. Embodied cognition is an approach that explains non-linear behaviour through orgamism-environment interactions and might therefore provide educators with insights on how to prompt students towards desired actions in CED activities. According to embodied cognition, we learn through actions that emerge as a response to a problem (task) and environmental constraints. Educators can guide students’ behaviour by proposing tasks and adapting the environmental constraints of a learning situation, thus creating a field of promoted action. In this paper, we outline the progress of a design-based research in which insights from embodied cognition are implemented to promote desired student behaviour in CED activities. We report on the results of our problem-exploration phase. A systematic literature review and focus groups with students revealed that students are often hesitant to adopt new practices and tools that could potentially improve their collaborative design process. Next, we propose three theory-based design principles in which the task and environmental constraints are leveraged to foster the adoption of practices and tools and apply them to CED activities. Finally, we will share preliminary observations of the learning processes triggered by the designed activities and outline the directions for future research.
Van Helden, G., Zandbergen, B., Shvarts, A., Specht, M., & Gill, E. (2023). An Embodied Cognition Approach To Collaborative Engineering Design Activities. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/NRTB-2S20
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