A Study of the Influence of Technical Attributes of Beginner Cad Users on Their Performance

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Computer-Aided Design 40 (2008) 262–272 www.elsevier.com/locate/cad

A study of the influence of technical attributes of beginner CAD users on their performance R.F. Hamade a,∗ , H.A. Artail b
a Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Riad El-Solh, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon b Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Riad El-Solh, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon

Received 11 July 2006; accepted 1 November 2007

Abstract In this work, we aim to answer the question: what does it take to create a competent CAD user? Certainly, the answer involves technical factors that provide the ability to learn as well as personal attributes and attitude. This paper starts with a description of the progress of a group of trainees as they undergo a training program in solid CAD (Pro/Engineer). Initially, the technical attributes of 44 CAD trainees (all mechanical engineering seniors), in a university setting, are uncovered. This is accomplished via a written questionnaire that queries the trainees about their background in CAD-related topics such as math foundation, computer science, and mechanical engineering background. A methodology is established that addresses the framework that may be described using the following process: (1) Construct a questionnaire by using focused, CAD specific written questions to reveal the trainees’ technical attributes. (2) Assess the development of CAD skills as training progresses. (3) Establish a correlation between the answers of the questionnaire and the performance measures of CAD skill development in order to determine the relevance of individual questions. (4) Analyze the correlation results to determine the degree by which the trainees’ technical attributes influence CAD competence development. This work is envisaged to pave the way for complementary work that investigates the effects of the trainees’ personality attributes (e.g., motivation/attitude and perception/imagination) and learning styles on CAD competence building. c 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: CAD user; Questionnaire; Training; Technical attributes

1. Introduction Ye et al. [6] examined the various roles of CAD personnel including the basic CAD user. They defined a set of technical topics necessary for 3D CAD users: namely, mathematics, computer science, design, and CAD-related skills. Also, Field [1] discussed the attributes that he considered necessary for the success of the majority of CAD users in the auto industry. In this work, we look for these attributes in a pool of 44 novice trainees (spread over two consecutive years: 23 in the first year and 21 in the second year) all being mechanical engineering seniors on their way to becoming users of 3D mechanical CAD. We developed a written questionnaire in which specific questions ∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +961 1 350 000; fax: +961 1 744 462.

E-mail addresses: rhamade@aub.edu.lb (R.F. Hamade), hartail@aub.edu.lb (H.A. Artail). 0010-4485/$ - see front matter c 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.cad.2007.11.001

queried trainees about their technical background. In order to determine the significance of these attributes on trainees’ performance, we correlated them to trainees’ performance using the methodology originally presented in [2] and further verified in [3]. This methodology tracks the efficiency (speed) as well as the effectiveness (as evidenced by the constructed models’ sophistication) of the CAD knowledge as it gets acquired by trainees. It should be noted that we expanded the survey used in [4] into a more expansive and more specific one so that it may be conducted at several stages during training for the purpose of continuously monitoring the trainees’ attributes. The objective was to have more specific responses (especially on technical attributes) that were found to be critical in the improvement and progress of training. The...
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