Research Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


This study aims to investigate the development of creativity in engineering education and how spatial skills relate to creativity of design solutions.

Undergraduate students in the first (n=86) and fourth/fifth year (n=48) of their engineering programme were invited to participate. Students completed four spatial tests to precisely measure visualisation skills. In a separate session, students were invited back to solve two engineering design tasks: a ping pong problem where they designed a ping pong ball launcher game to meet specified criteria and a rain catcher problem where they were tasked with developing as many ideas for capturing rainwater as a water source for a remote location as they could. Students were asked not to consider feasibility, cost, etc. and to come up multiple radical solutions to the rainwater capture problem.

The creativity of design solutions was assessed using Adaptive Comparative Judgement. Statistical analysis indicated significant relationships between spatial skills, students’ year of study and gender. A statistically significant relationship was also found between students’ creativity scores on both design challenges. No statistical differences were determined in the creativity of first and fourth/fifth year students’ solutions. These findings will be discussed relative to existing research, future work, and potential implications for education practice.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.