Additive manufacturing (AM) processes present designers with creative freedoms beyond the capabilities of traditional manufacturing processes. However, to successfully leverage AM, designers must balance their creativity against the limitations inherent in these processes to ensure the feasibility of their designs. This feasible adoption of AM can be achieved if designers learn about and apply opportunistic and restrictive design for AM (DfAM) techniques at appropriate stages of the design process. Researchers have demonstrated the effect of the order of presentation of information on the learning and retrieval of said information; however, there is a need to explore this effect within DfAM education. In this paper, we explore this gap through an experimental study involving 195 undergraduate engineering students. Specifically, we compare two variations in DfAM education: (1) opportunistic DfAM followed by restrictive DfAM, and (2) restrictive DfAM followed by opportunistic DfAM, against only opportunistic DFAM and only restrictive DfAM training. These variations are compared through (1) differences in participants’ DfAM self-efficacy, (2) their self-reported DfAM use, and (3) the creativity of their design outcomes. From the results, we see that only students trained in opportunistic DfAM, with or without restrictive DfAM, present a significant increase in their opportunistic DfAM self-efficacy. However, all students trained in DfAM — opportunistic, restrictive, or both — demonstrated an increase in their restrictive DfAM self-efficacy. Further, we see that teaching restrictive DfAM first followed by opportunistic DfAM results in the generation of ideas with greater creativity — a novel research finding. These results highlight the need for educators to account for the effects of the order of presenting content to students, especially when educating students about DfAM.

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