Computer-aided design (CAD) simulation environments offer opportunities for students to evaluate, redesign, and visualize engineering design solutions quickly and get feedback. However, the use of CAD simulation tools in precollege settings is relatively rare. This study explores design strategies used by experienced designers in Energy3D, a CAD simulation environment designed for learning settings, to provide insight into supporting students' use of CAD simulation environments in precollege settings. Five designers engaged in a think-aloud of a design challenge used with precollege students. Video and log data were collected and analyzed. Emergent themes that emerged across designers included problem definition, problem decomposition, and systematic but not tightly controlled exploration. We discuss the implications for designing instruction with CAD simulations in precollege settings.
McAlister, A. M., Bywater, J. P., & Chiu, J. L. (2021). Exploring experienced designers' strategies in a CAD learning environment. Computer Applications in Engineering Education.