Interventions for Teaching Sketching Skills and Reducing Inhibition for Novice Engineering Designers

by | Nov 24, 2015

Authors: Joran W. Booth, Elkin A. Taborda, Karthik Ramani, and Tahira Reid
Design Studies, 43, 1-23.

Abstract: This paper explores improving sketching skills and reducing the inhibition to sketch for student designers. In the first study, students were taught sketching skills through an in-class workshop. The effect was evaluated using a pre-midpost test (n=40). In the second study, students were led through art activities to reduce their inhibition to sketch. The effect was tested using another pre-midpost test (n=26). The first study found sketching skills increased, but declined with disuse. The second study found reduced inhibition immediately after the workshop, an increase after the sketch skills workshop, and a decrease over the semester. This suggests that sketch training and inhibition-reducing exercises are effective in the short term, but must be emphasized over time for a permanent change.




Joran is a research scientist and lecturer at Yale University and a Co-Advisor with Professor Tahira Reid. He received the degree of D-PhD in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. He received his bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the Brigham Young University. His research focuses on how students abstract and solve complex problems in early design phases, with a special emphasis on functional decomposition and sketching/visualization. Other research interests include prototyping, engineering history, education, family science, and history. Joran spends his free time volunteering, playing board games, hiking, playing music, or spending time outdoors. His past projects include starting the Purdue Maker's club, various sketching workshops, and simple robots. He recently finished an internship at IMMI, a top automotive safety products company.  Joran is a member of ASME and the Order of the Engineer. You can find more information at