Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Improving human understanding and design of complex multi-level systems with animation and parametric relationship supports

  • Paul Egan (a1) (a2), Christian Schunn (a3), Jonathan Cagan (a2) and Philip LeDuc (a2)
Abstract

Complex systems are challenging to design, particularly when they contain multi-level organizations with non-obvious relationships among design components. Here, we investigate engineering students’ capacity to search for optimal nanoscale biosystem designs with stochastic component and system behaviors. The study aims to characterize information types that facilitate human learning and improve their complex system understanding and design proficiency. It is hypothesized that learning parametric system relationships and/or inter-level causal mechanisms improves design proficiency; these relationships and mechanisms are teachable through software interfaces. Two contrasting learning/design interfaces were developed that presented differing information types: an interface with performance charts that emphasized parametric relationship learning and an interface with agent-based animations that emphasized inter-level causality learning. Users improved on pre-/post-learning design tasks with both interfaces; users who demonstrated inter-level causal relationship understanding, which occurred primarily with the animation interface, had greater improvement. All users were then presented contrasting animations of systems with opposing emergent behaviors, resulting in many more participants demonstrating an understanding of inter-level causal behaviors. These findings reveal the difficulties in understanding and designing multi-level systems and that interactive software tools may convey crucial information that supports engineering design, particularly with respect to the development of reasoning skills for how system components relate across levels.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Improving human understanding and design of complex multi-level systems with animation and parametric relationship supports
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Improving human understanding and design of complex multi-level systems with animation and parametric relationship supports
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Improving human understanding and design of complex multi-level systems with animation and parametric relationship supports
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Distributed as Open Access under a CC-BY 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Corresponding author
Email address for correspondence: pegan@ethz.ch
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L. Alfieri , T. Nokes-Malach  & C. Schunn 2013 Learning through case comparisons: a meta-analytic review. Educational Psychologist 48, 87113.

A. A. Cheng  & T. K. Lu 2012 Synthetic biology: an emerging engineering discipline. Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering 14, 155178.

M. Chi 2005 Commonsense conceptions of emergent processes: why some misconceptions are robust. Journal of the Learning Sciences 14, 161199.

M. Chi , R. Roscoe , J. Slotta , M. Roy  & C. Chase 2012 Misconceived causal explanations for emergent processes. Cognitive Science 36, 161.

P. Egan , J. Cagan , C. Schunn  & P. LeDuc 2013 Design of complex biologically based nanoscale systems using multi-agent simulations and structure-behavior-function representations. Journal of Mechanical Design 135, 061005.

P. Egan , J. Cagan , C. Schunn  & P. LeDuc 2015a Synergistic human-agent methods for deriving effective search strategies: the case of nanoscale design. Research in Engineering Design 26, 145169.

P. Egan , J. Moore , C. Schunn , J. Cagan  & P. LeDuc 2015b Emergent systems energy laws for predicting myosin ensemble processivity. PLoS Computational Biology 11, e1004177.

P. Egan , R. Sinko , P. LeDuc  & S. Keten 2015c The role of mechanics in biological and synthetic bioinspired systems. Nature Communications 6, 112.

B. J. German , K. M. Feigh  & M. J. Daskilewicz 2013 An experimental study of continuous and discrete visualization paradigms for interactive trade space exploration. Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering 13, 021004.

A. K. Goel , S. Vattam , B. Wiltgen  & M. Helms 2012 Cognitive, collaborative, conceptual and creative—four characteristics of the next generation of knowledge-based CAD systems: a study in biologically inspired design. Computer-Aided Design 44, 879900.

Y. Harada , K. Sakurada , T. Aoki , D. D. Thomas  & T. Yanagida 1990 Mechanochemical coupling in actomyosin energy transduction studied by in vitro movement assay. Journal of Molecular Biology 216, 4968.

N. Hirschi  & D. Frey 2002 Cognition and complexity: an experiment on the effect of coupling in parameter design. Research in Engineering Design 13, 123131.

C. E. Hmelo-Silver , S. Marathe  & L. Liu 2007 Fish swim, rocks sit, and lungs breathe: expert-novice understanding of complex systems. Journal of the Learning Sciences 16, 307331.

F. Huber , J. Schnauß , S. Rönicke , P. Rauch , K. Müller , C. Fütterer  & J. Käs 2013 Emergent complexity of the cytoskeleton: from single filaments to tissue. Advances in Physics 62, 1112.

R. Jordan , C. Hmelo-Silver , L. Liu  & S. Gray 2013 Fostering reasoning about complex systems: using the aquarium to teach systems thinking. Applied Environmental Education & Communication 12, 5564.

C. Keating , R. Rogers , R. Unal , D. Dryer , A. Sousa-Poza , R. Safford , W. Peterson  & G. Rabadi 2003 System of systems engineering. Engineering Management Journal 15, 3645.

G. H. Koenderink , Z. Dogic , F. Nakamura , P. M. Bendix , F. C. MacKintosh , J. H. Hartwig , T. P. Stossel  & D. A. Weitz 2009 An active biopolymer network controlled by molecular motors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106, 1519215197.

N. Korin , M. Kanapathipillai , B. D. Matthews , M. Crescente , A. Brill , T. Mammoto , K. Ghosh , S. Jurek , S. A. Bencherif  & D. Bhatta 2012 Shear-activated nanotherapeutics for drug targeting to obstructed blood vessels. Science 337, 738742.

D. Kuhn , K. Iordanou , M. Pease  & C. Wirkala 2008 Beyond control of variables: What needs to develop to achieve skilled scientific thinking? Cognitive Development 23, 435451.

X. Li  & M. Gunal 2012 Exploring cognitive modelling in engineering usability design. Journal of Engineering Design 23, 7797.

C. T. Murphy  & J. A. Spudich 1998 Dictyostelium myosin 25–50 K loop substitutions specifically affect ADP release rates. Biochemistry 37, 67386744.

V. J. Neiman  & S. Varghese 2011 Synthetic bio-actuators and their applications in biomedicine. Smart Structures and Systems 7, 185198.

J. M. Ottino 2004 Engineering complex systems. Nature 427, 399.

D. Roller 1991 An approach to computer-aided parametric design. Computer-Aided Design 23, 385391.

J. Ruiz , D. Cook  & A. Levinson 2009 Computer animations in medical education: a critical literature review. Medical Education 43, 838846.

S. K. Sim  & A. H. Duffy 2003 Towards an ontology of generic engineering design activities. Research in Engineering Design 14, 200223.

T. W. Simpson , M. Frecker , R. R. Barton  & L. Rothrock 2007 Graphical and text-based design interfaces for parameter design of an I-beam, desk lamp, aircraft wing, and job shop manufacturing system. Engineering with Computers 23, 93107.

J. P. Spatz 2005 Bio-MEMS: building up micromuscles. Nature Materials 4, 115116.

C. Tan , S. Saurabh , M. P. Bruchez , R. Schwartz  & P. Leduc 2013 Molecular crowding shapes gene expression in synthetic cellular nanosystems. Nature Nanotechnology 8, 602608.

J. J. Van Merriënboer  & J. Sweller 2010 Cognitive load theory in health professional education: design principles and strategies. Medical education 44, 8593.

A. Villalobos , J. Ness , C. Gustafsson , J. Minshull  & S. Govindarajan 2006 Gene Designer: a synthetic biology tool for constructing artificial DNA segments. BMC Bioinformatics 7, 18.

M. J. Woodruff , P. M. Reed  & T. W. Simpson 2013 Many objective visual analytics: rethinking the design of complex engineered systems. Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization 48, 201219.

A. A. Yassine 2012 Parametric design adaptation for competitive products. Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing 23, 541559.

E. Young  & H. Alper 2010 Synthetic biology: tools to design, build, and optimize cellular processes. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2010, 112.

X. Zhang , T. Simpson , M. Frecker  & G. Lesieutre 2012 Supporting knowledge exploration and discovery in multi-dimensional data with interactive multiscale visualisation. Journal of Engineering Design 23, 2347.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Design Science
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2053-4701
  • URL: /core/journals/design-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 144 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 179 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.