Teaching design for additive manufacturing: efficacy of and engagement with lecture and laboratory approaches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Downloads (Pure)


Additive manufacturing (AM) is projected to require 60,000 jobs in the UK by 2025, but there are a series of barriers to the industrial application. One of the most problematic is non-comprehensive knowledge in design for AM (DfAM). This study aims to test the effect of two undergraduate DfAM teaching approaches. A visual and audial approach (design lecture) and a kinaesthetic, problem-based learning (PBL) approach (manufacturing laboratory) were compared against technical and participant perspective criteria to assess the learning, engagement, and self-efficacy of the students. The participants were set a DfAM challenge; to redesign a bracket. The technical merits of the designs were evaluated after teaching through a design lecture alone or after a design lecture and manufacturing-laboratory. The participant’s perspective was evaluated at the end of the study. The groups who undertook both the design lecture and manufacturing laboratory showed a mean technical mark of 100% for criteria (C) 13 (“Parts have been consolidated into one part”), 91.7% for C14 (“The bracket is hollowed where possible”) and 100% for C16 (“Manufacture was successful”). These technical marks demonstrate a statistically significant increase over those of the groups who undertook the design lecture alone. The participant evaluation reinforced this result; the manufacturing laboratory was chosen more frequently in answer to questions on applicability (Q13 = 83%), preparedness (Q15 = 83%), and gaining confidence in DfAM (Q31 = 74%). This study demonstrates the importance of PBL in DfAM, both to increase technical aptitude of the student (creativity and manufacturing) and their perspective on their own learning and self-efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Early online date8 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N005309/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Design
  • Problem-based learning
  • Pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching design for additive manufacturing: efficacy of and engagement with lecture and laboratory approaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this