Exploring ideation strategies as an opportunity to support and evaluate making

Marcelo Worsley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to compare two types of prompts, encouraging participants to think about real-world examples or engineering principles to show how these two approaches can result in vastly different design practices. Design/methodology/approach: Two studies (N = 20, N = 40) examine the impact of two different prompts. Non-expert students, from high school and university, completed a hands-on, engineering design task in pairs. Half were prompted to ideate using real-world examples, while the other half were prompted to ideate using engineering principles. The findings are based on human coding and artifact analyses. Findings: In both studies, and across multiple measures, students in the principle-based condition performed better than students in the example-based condition. Research limitations/implications: A seemingly small difference in how students are prompted or encouraged to approach a problem can have a significant impact on their experience. The findings also suggest that leveraging engineering principles, even when those principles are only loosely formed, can be effective even for non-experts. Finally, the findings motivate identifying student reasoning strategies over time as a potential means for assessment in Makerspaces. Practical implications: Encouraging makers to think about different ways for approaching problems can be an important way to help them succeed. It may also be a useful way to chronicle their learning pathway. Originality/value: To the author's knowledge, explicitly looking at ideation strategies has not been widely discussed within the Maker community as a way to support learners, or as a way to evaluate learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
JournalInformation and Learning Science
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Assessment
  • Collaborative learning
  • Constructionism
  • Design process
  • Engineering design
  • Problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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