In this study, advanced efforts to improve Engineering Design Education (EDE) programs at Colleges of Technology, Japan (KOSEN) are analyzed to construct a framework for the development of EDE. EDE is a new concept to train engineers with Engineering Design ability, which is explained as “the synthesis of various academic disciplines and technologies to pursue practicable solutions to a problem that does not necessarily have one correct answer” and is highly demanded in the knowledge-based society.
First, the abstract concept of EDE is compared to conventional engineering education to identify five dimensions which distinguish them: 1) assignment, 2) process, 3) performance indicator, 4) evaluator, and 5) type of learning. Then, pioneering EDE projects at KOSEN, where a mass of EDE projects are already managed systematically, are analyzed. As a result, some characteristics of the competing challenges within the scope of current abstract discussion are presented:
1. combination of different knowledges and skills to perform the task;
2. submission to the market or practitoner’s unpredicable and fluid evaluation; and
3. making use of feedback from society to improve outcome many times over.
Finally, properties of the new challenges in each dimension are presented, enabling us to more fruitfully discuss the design of EDE.