Research Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


This paper presents a study aiming at characterising engineering freshmen’s performance in modelling tasks, as well as the strategies they adopt to execute them, before and after taking a 3-D modelling course. 97 freshmen in a French engineering school were asked to produce 3-D models of a part, using three views and the product development platform Onshape. The accuracy of their models was assessed using geometrical, dimensional and functional criteria. The students’ performance was also investigated with regards to their modelling strategies. We characterised more specifically the strategies they adopted to constrain the overall length of the part, and pierce the central key groove. We complemented this experiment with spatial visualisation and spatial orientation tests, to explore the potential relation between modelling performance and spatial ability. We identified two strategies for piercing the key groove and three for defining the total length of the part. We observed that the latter was linked to the students’ spatial ability, unlike the key groove piercing strategy. We observed a significant increase in the number of students who adopted an efficient strategy to define the length of the part after the 3-D modelling course. This increase seems to indicate that more students were able to take into account visual information regarding size. We nevertheless observed a lack of progression in the ability to dimension this element accurately. This confirms the unchanging need for teaching students, as well as pupils, how to read and interpret 2-D information.


Creative Commons License

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.