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Comparing Transparent Devices to Current Educational Methods for Enhancing Comprehension of Product Functionality

[+] Author Affiliations
Ariana Pedersen, John L. Salmon

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Paper No. IMECE2016-66858, pp. V005T06A035; 9 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5057-2
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Mechanical dissection has become a popular method for introducing engineering students to design. However, there are many factors preventing mechanical dissection from becoming widespread. We propose an alternative to mechanical dissection focused on functionality. Transparent devices are modified devices that allow students to inspect the internal components while it is operating. To test the effectiveness of transparent devices, we compared a diagram to a dissected and a transparent device. The devices were presented to university students. After being allowed to inspect an opaque device and supplementary material, students were asked how the device functions and their confidence level. They were scored based on how correct their answers were. We found that both dissected and transparent devices were more effective in increasing comprehension and confidence than the diagram. There was little difference between dissected and transparent devices. The transparent device did produce a better correlation between correctness and confidence.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Transparency



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