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Evaluating the learning process of mechanical CAD students

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Computers & Education Volume 49, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


There is little theoretical or experimental research on how beginner-level trainees learn CAD skills in formal training sessions. This work presents findings on how trainees develop their skills in utilizing a solid mechanical CAD tool (Pro/Engineer version 2000i2 and later version Wildfire). Exercises at the beginner and intermediate levels were designed so that several variations of a solid object are built by non-experienced trainees as they accumulate training time. In this case, trainees are fourth year mechanical engineering seniors and as such, they were of a similar technical and gender make-up. This assessment was conducted over the duration of training (16-week long semester). The test exercises were used to assess the trainees’ speed and proficiency in the use of CAD by (1) measuring their performance time and (2) feature count (number of features-of-size used to build the test parts). Using performance time data, empirical learning curves are generated. Breaking these curves into declarative and procedural components provides insight into how fast the trainees develop cognitive and motor CAD skills. In order to confirm that this methodology can be extended to other CAD platforms, a follow-up study was performed on a different set of beginner-level trainees with similar make-up while using the same beginner-level parts but with a more recent version of Pro/Engineer: Wildfire. One significant result of this study is that the procedural and declarative components of CAD learning are largely cognitive.


Hamade, R.F., Artail, H.A. & Jaber, M.Y. (2007). Evaluating the learning process of mechanical CAD students. Computers & Education, 49(3), 640-661. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 28, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on February 1, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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