Although there is a substantial growth in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) market commensurate with the demand for products produced by AM methods, there is a shortage of skilled designers in the workforce that can apply AM effectively to meet this demand. This is due to the innate complications with cost and infrastructure for high-barrier-to-entry AM processes such as powder bed fusion when attempting to educate designers about these processes through in-person learning. To meet the demands for a skilled AM workforce while also accounting for the limited access to the range of AM processes, it is important to explore other mediums of AM education such as computer-aided instruction (CAI) which can increase access to hands-on learning experiences. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the use of CAI in AM process education and focus on its effects on knowledge gain and cognitive load. Our findings show that when designers are educated about material extrusion and powder bed fusion through CAI, the knowledge gain for powder bed fusion is significantly different than knowledge gain for material extrusion, with no significant difference in cognitive load between these two AM processes. These findings imply that there is potential in virtual mediums to improve a designer’s process-centric knowledge for the full range of AM processes including those that are usually inaccessible. We take these findings to begin developing recommendations and guidelines for the use of virtual mediums in AM education and future research that investigates implications for virtual AM education.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.