What is the Value of Prototyping?

PI: Assistant Professor Scott Klemmer


This proposal introduces fundamental empirical research to help understand how prototyping practices affect learning, motivation, and outcome in design. This proposal for continued funding outlines our key findings from Year One. We established an experimental paradigm—a simple mechanical design task—for understanding the effect of prototyping practices on design outcome and we are currently exploring digital design tasks as testing platforms. We studied the efficacy of iterative feedback under tight time constraints, and found a significant result, demonstrating the value of prototyping for learning and discovery. We also provide details for three contributions in Year Two: a continuation of empirical research on the effects of alternative prototyping practices, a paper synthesizing related literature from the human sciences, and the creation of classroom teaching materials based on our findings. We are coordinating our research efforts and materials with Holger Giese and Raja Gumienny at HPI.