Living labs: dealing with uncertainty in solving complex problems

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Abstract

In engineering education students are increasingly challenged to solve complex socio-technological problems. However, there are many uncertainties in solving those ‘ill-defined wicked problems’. For students, dealing with uncertainty is not easy to master.
In the minor and master programmes of Science Education and Communication at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, living Labs (‘C-labs’) are used to teach students to deal with real-life complex communication problems in technological innovation processes. Students collaborate in teams of four persons, all from different technological disciplines. Each team works closely with professionals who face the problem in practice. In the C-labs, design methodology is used to approach the problems in a structured way.
In this study we raise the question: how do students deal with uncertainties in solving complex problems in the C-labs? To answer this question we identified 3 sources of uncertainty: attributed to the individual, to the social context and to the task [6] and monitored the students during the design process by means of surveys and interviews.
Data analysis shows that students perceive all 3 kinds of uncertainty in the various stages of the design process. They use of a broad variety of responses to tackle uncertainty. The outcomes can be used to improve our ways to help students to deal with uncertainties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI 2019: 47th SEFI Annual Conference in Budapest
EditorsGreet Langie, Xavier Fouger, Klara Kovesi
Pages2009-2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventSEFI 2019: 47th SEFI Annual Conference in Budapest - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 16 Sep 201919 Sep 2019
Conference number: 47
https://sefi2019.eu/Welcome

Conference

ConferenceSEFI 2019: 47th SEFI Annual Conference in Budapest
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2019
CountryHungary
CityBudapest
Period16/09/1919/09/19
Internet address

Keywords

  • uncertainty
  • living labs
  • complex problems
  • design methodology

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  • Cite this

    Wehrmann, C., & van den Bogaard, M. (2019). Living labs: dealing with uncertainty in solving complex problems. In G. Langie, X. Fouger, & K. Kovesi (Eds.), SEFI 2019: 47th SEFI Annual Conference in Budapest (pp. 2009-2018)