The use of a medical device surrogate for cooperative product development learning of engineering design

Jeffrey LaBelle, Aldin Malkoc, Mackenzie Honikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While many core engineering classes prepare students' technical ability, there are few classes that strictly enforce development of key concepts. The work presented is a project-based learning experience that teaches and enforces three key concepts: (1) innovation, (2) prototyping strategies, and (3) design processes crucial for engineering design. While it is important for students to learn the presented key concepts, it is imperative to ensure that upon completion of the course, each student is at an equal proficiency. The focus of this study is on translatability between professors and times a course is offered. Such that, no matter when and by whom the course is instructed, the students will effectively learn and show improvements in innovation, prototyping, and design. Our research poses the question: how will a project-based learning experience translate between different professors and times a course is offered when trying to enhance and develop concepts of innovation, prototyping, and design? A hands-on, project-based cooperative learning lab was designed where students are placed into teams to design and develop a final prototype. The course uses the development of a board game as a surrogate for a medical device to enhance students' skills in innovation, prototyping, and design. The use of the board game allows students to focus on the process versus the development of a final specific device. Additionally, the board game requires consideration in all aspects of medical device design: innovation, prototyping, standards consideration, regulatory pathway, intellectual property, and design of an experiment. The course has three main components that enforce and teach innovation, prototyping, and design. The students begin by taking a survey for self-assessment evaluation, a pre and post design challenge for instructor assessment, and expert validation of a final project prototype. From the study, the design challenges and student surveys showed significant differences between pre and post scores. This was evident in all three key concepts. Some of the key findings were, the spring 2014 semester, 76% showed improvement in innovation, fall 2015 Wednesday section showing a 73% increase in the innovation category for the student survey, and spring 2014 showing a 143% score increase in the design category of the design challenge. However, at this time, there are no reported statistical differences in validator scores for the final product prototype. The study here hopes to address two concepts. The first being teaching and retention of concepts that are important in design, specifically senior year design. Second, it offers promise into the transferability of content and learning between professors, semesters, and time a class is offered. While this study was performed on a junior year course, a project-based learning experience is perfect for the freshmen year experience, to ensure that students are taught these skills early on in their academic careers. In addition, the methodology used in this course is applicable to any grade level. While implemented junior year, this form of teaching could greatly benefit FYE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 24 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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