New Product Development (NPD) classes based around problem-based learning provide an effective vehicle for authentic learning and realistic design experiences. Self-reflection provides one mechanism to expose learning accomplishments to the instructor and help the students develop self-assessment skills for professional practice. As one component of a self-assessment learning process this paper describes a structured ‘lessons learned’ exercise that focuses on what the students themselves found to be the salient learning experiences when engaging in a multidisciplinary product development process. We present an analysis of over 1200 ‘lessons learned’ collected from three years of a graduate multidisciplinary NPD class with students from engineering, information studies, architecture, business and industrial design. Students highlighted skills for working in multidisciplinary teams as their most important learning experience, whereas the area of greatest impact in the NPD process was the gathering and analysis of customer and user needs. By breaking down these sections we draw insights into students’ learning experiences and provide implications for design education in terms of skill sets required and recommended course emphases.

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