Using the Engineering design process (EDP) to solve real-world problems

The engineering design process is an iterative problem-solving methodology that involves identifying problems, collecting information, and making prototypes to come up with the best possible solutions (Frilles, 2015). EDP can be applied to many different fields and can be used in the classroom by students to try new ways of solving problems. The EDP includes several steps; defining the problem, brainstorming and visualizing solutions, prototyping, testing, and refining solutions until it is implementable (Frilles, 2015). I wanted to explore whether students can use the engineering design process to solve real-world problems and whether technology can help students with the EDP.

In a 2018 study by Siewe, students participated in a project-based learning activity where they used the engineering design process to address a renewable energy problem. Researchers discovered that the students could come up with workable ideas and solutions by just following through with the engineering design process. Also, the result showed that students strengthened their cooperation, communication, and critical thinking skills using the EDP.

There is evidence that technology can enhance the engineering design process. When students were given access to a computer-aided design (CAD) tool to help them design wind turbine blades, students improved their ability to design a functional solution. The CAD tool helped the students collaborate and communicate their ideas more efficiently (Achuthan, 2018). In a study by Dikmen, students were given a water conservation problem and access to online data and resources to help them refine the solution. Access to relevant information and resources helped them with decision-making (Dikmen, 2019).

In another study, students were given a project where they had to design roller coasters. Students had access to a virtual roller coaster simulator, which allowed them to test their designs and make adjustments. Technology allowed students to engage in virtual simulations and experiments before building prototypes. The study showed that students could design effective models (Lee, 2019).

These findings suggest that the engineering design process is a valuable tool for students in solving real-world problems, and technology can help students with EDP. The engineering design process helps students develop critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. This concept of designing the solution helps students practice critical thinking and reasoning, and even when their designs fail, they can still learn from their failures to refine solutions. The engineering design process with technology can help students develop the skills and knowledge they can apply to solve real-world problems and become innovative designers as defined by ISTE; Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.


Achuthan, K., Prakash, A., & Goel, S. (2018). Assessing the impact of computer-aided design on engineering design education. International Journal of Engineering Education, 34(1), 155-165.

Dikmen, O., Orhan, A., & Ozkan, E. (2019). A framework for integrating design thinking and engineering design process in education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 29(4), 685-700.

Frilles, E (2015). Solve Real-world Problems Using the Engineering Design Process (Brochure)

Lee, H., Kim, Y., Kim, M., & Kim, J. (2019). Developing a project-based learning model using the engineering design process. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 22(1), 169-180.

Siewe, F., Ngoh, A., & Kimengsi, J. (2018). Project-Based Learning on Renewable Energy: A Case Study. Journal of Education and Practice, 9(18), 108-115.

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