The role of digital prototyping tools in learning factories

Jacob Nelson, Andrew Berlin, Jessica Menold, Matthew Parkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


As makerspaces and learning factories begin to shift towards digitally enabled environments, it is critical that we understand the effect of this shift on designers and designs. Prototyping is an important design activity that influences designers' mental models of the design concept and the characteristics of the design itself. Since the tools available to designers affect the prototypes they make, the selection and presentation of these tools to should be done judiciously. Considerable effort has been made to study the pedagogy of learning factories, but the tools with which they are equipped can also have a strong formative effect on the students that use them. This work presents preliminary findings that suggest that digital prototyping tools may significantly influence the trajectory of designs. In contrast, traditional tools (such as lathes, mills, drill press) had no such influence. We hypothesize that this may be due to inherent differences in the way designers generate and form knowledge when using traditional (i.e. non-digital) prototyping tools versus digital prototyping tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-533
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia Manufacturing
StatePublished - 2020
Event10th Conference on Learning Factories, CLF 2020 - Graz, Austria
Duration: Apr 15 2020Apr 17 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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