The use of Cognitive Style Analysis and the APU Design and Technology assessment strategy as means of clarifying and describing student design work

Tony Lawler
1996, Vol. 1, No. 1,


A concern for the activity of designing as a fundamental skill in the design and technology repertoire has prompted this investigation into the design project work of undergraduate students. Using two different assessment methods, one from cognitive psychology and one from design and technology education research, the article both clarifies and links the concepts of cognitive style and the individual's design methodology. The article concludes that there are useful implications of this for both students and teachers in the delivery, and the development of designing capability, and the links between 'cognitive style' and 'designing style'.

This research:

  • asks what mental processes are involved in designing
  • outlines one means to analyse and even measure these processes
  • asks whether some mental styles are better than others for designers

Project work as a medium for learning in the design and technology area is a well established tradition. It is recognised as a means to develop skills, knowledge and capabilities.

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