Iterating on students' perceptions of iteration in the design process: An exploratory study Conference

Meyer, SE, Strong, AC. (2017). Iterating on students' perceptions of iteration in the design process: An exploratory study . 2017-June

cited authors

  • Meyer, SE; Strong, AC


  • Explorations of experienced designers demonstrate how these designers employ iterative methods to refine their understanding of a problem and to improve their designs. In contrast, many novice designers do not perceive iteration as an important activity within the design process. Yet, novice designers' perspectives of iteration tend to shift after initial design experiences, viewing iteration as one of the most important design activities. Given this shift and the critical role of iteration within design practice, the purpose of this study is to explore iteration more deeply and uncover students' perceptions about how this aspect of design is related to the broader design process. Students within a senior level aerospace engineering design course at a large public university were given an open ended survey prompt to document their design process mid-way through the course. The resulting 70 design processes were explored using an open coding methodology. The resulting set of categories describe how students perceive the role of iteration. Preliminary results show that students perceive iteration explicitly occurring once or not at all during the design process. When iteration did occur, it was most common in the late stages of the process with rare occurrences at the beginning. In addition, the students discussed using iteration to improve the results of mathematical models, as opposed to, for instance, supporting their understanding of the problem. The results of this study demonstrate the need for additional research to explore how iteration is defined and how to support students' understanding of the diverse uses of iteration within design. Recommendations for future research directions are presented in the paper along with implications for design educators who wish to further develop their students' understanding of iteration.

publication date

  • June 24, 2017


  • 2017-June