The ultimate goal of this research is to provide computer based educational software that exposes engineering students to design tradeoffs early in their undergraduate experience. This paper investigates two feedback elements for their ability to enhance those students’ understanding of the tradeoffs inherent in a water rocket propulsion design problem: 1) a Latin hypercube sample that allows the student to select a starting point and 2) sensitivity values that displayed local gradient information. Assessments are made using data logged during the students’ interaction with the software and a series of quizzes performed throughout the study. The results indicate that the sensitivity information improves the students’ ability to locate designs with good performance, while the Latin hypercube adversely affects the students’ ability to visualize the objective space.

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