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Teaching and Learning Design

Re:Research, Volume 1

image of Teaching and Learning Design


Just as the term design has been going through change, growth and expansion of meaning, and interpretation in practice and education – the same can be said for design research. The traditional boundaries of design are dissolving and connections are being established with other fields at an exponential rate. Based on the proceedings from the 2017 International Association of Societies of Design Research conference, Re:Research is an edited collection that showcases a curated selection of 83 papers – just over half of the works presented at the conference. With topics ranging from the introduction of design in the primary education sector to designing information for Artificial Intelligence systems, this book collection demonstrates the diverse perspectives of design and design research. Divided into seven thematic volumes, this collection maps out where the field of design research is now.




Opening a Design Education Pipeline from University to K-12 and Back

•       Peter Scupelli, Doris Wells-Papanek, Judy Brooks, Arnold Wasserman


To prepare students to imagine desirable futures amidst current planetary-level challenges, design educators must think and act in new ways. In this paper, we describe a pilot study that illustrates how educators might teach K-12 students and university design students to situate their making within transitional times in a volatile and exponentially changing world. We describe how to best situate students to align design thinking and learning with future foresight. Here we present a pilot test and evaluate how a university-level Design Futures course content, approach, and scaffolded instructional materials – can be adapted for use in K-12 Design Learning Challenges. We describe the K-12 design-based learning challenges/experiences developed and implemented by the Design Learning Network (DLN). The Design Futures course we describe in this paper is a required course for third-year undergraduate students in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. The “x” signifies a different type of design that aligns short-term action with long-term goals. The course integrates design thinking and learning with long-horizon future scenario foresight. Broadly speaking, we ask how might portions of a design course be taught and experienced by teachers and students of two different demographics: within the university (Design Undergraduates) and in K-12 (via DLN). This pilot study is descriptive in nature; in future work, we seek to assess learning outcomes across university and K-12 courses. We believe the approach described is relevant for lifelong learners (e.g., post-graduate-level, career development, transitional adult education).


Re-Clarifying Design Problems Through Questions for Secondary School Children: An Example Based on Design Problem Identification in Singapore Pre-Tertiary Design Education

•       Wei Leong, Leon Loh, Hwee Mui, Grace Kwek, Wei Leong Lee


It is believed that secondary school students often define design problems in the design coursework superficially due to various reasons such as lack of exposure, inexperience and the lack of research skills. Questioning techniques have long been associated with the development of critical thinking. Based on this context and assumption, the current study aimed to explore the use of questioning techniques to enable pre-tertiary students to improve their understanding of design problems by using questions to critique their thinking and decision-making processes and in turn, generate more effective design solutions. A qualitative approach is adopted in this study to identify the trajectories of students during design problem identification and clarification process. Using student design journals as a form of record for action and thoughts, they are analyzed and supplemented by hearing survey with the teacher-in-charge. From the study, the following points can be concluded: (1) questions can be a useful tool to facilitate a better understanding of the design problem. (2) The process of identification and clarification of design problem is important in the development of critical thinking skills and social-emotional skills of the students. (3) It is important that students are given time and opportunity to find out the problems by themselves. (4) Teachers can be important role models as students may pick up questioning techniques from teacher–student discussions. (5) Departmental reviews and built-in professional development time for weekly reviews on teaching and learning strategies are necessary for the continual improvement D&T education.


Surveying Stakeholders: Research Informing Design Curriculum

•       Andrea Quam


Fundamental to design education is the creation and structure of curriculum. Neither the creation of design curriculum, nor the revaluation of existing curriculum is well documented. With no clear documentation of precedent, best practices are left open to debate. This paper and presentation will discuss the use of a survey as a research tool to assess existing curriculum at Iowa State University in the United States. This tool allowed the needs and perspectives of the program’s diverse stakeholders to be better understood. Utilizing survey methods, research revealed the convergence and divergence of stakeholders’ philosophies, theories and needs in relation to design curriculum. Accreditation and professional licensing provide base level of guidelines for design curriculum in the United States. However, each program’s curricular structure beyond these guidelines is a complicated balance of resources, facilities, faculty and the type of institution in which it is housed. Once established, a program’s curriculum is rarely reassessed as a whole, but instead updated with the hasty addition of classes upon an existing curricular structure. Curriculum is infrequently re-addressed, and when it is, it is typically based on the experience and opinions of a select group of faculty. This paper presents how a survey was developed to collect data to inform curricular decision-making, enabling the reduction of faculty bias and speculation in the process. Lessons learned from the development of this research tool will be shared so it might be replicated at other institutions, and be efficiently repeated periodically to ensure currency of a program’s curriculum.


New Challenges when Teaching UX Students to Sketch and Prototype

•       Joep Frens, Jodi Forlizzi, John Zimmerman


In this paper we report on new challenges when teaching User Experience (UX) students how to sketch and prototype their designs. We argue that UX students sketch and prototype differently than other design students, and we discuss how changes in the field necessitate a response in education. We describe sketching and prototyping as a continuum that students successfully traverse when they follow a process of “double loop learning.” We highlight three new challenges: (1) New computational design materials, (2) new maker tools and (3) changes within the tech industry. We explore these three challenges through examples from our students, and we outline strategies for sketching and prototyping in this new reality. We conclude that this is a starting point for further work on keeping education up to speed with practice.


How to Teach Industrial Design?: A Case Study of College Education for Design Beginners

•       Joomyung Rhi


Industrial design education has existed for a long time as part of the university system, but the curriculum and contents of each subject vary considerably from school to school. In recent years, the introduction of new concepts that change the definition of design has blurred the boundaries of design, making the curriculum different. Establishing a standard curriculum to address these challenges is an important task, but it is necessary to fully understand how design education actually takes place and to share content with educators. This paper aims to contribute to the debate on industrial design education by fully disclosing the process and results of the first stage of industrial design education of a university by autobiographical method. The first course, Product Design Practice 1, is a studio class based on a task feedback iteration system. Students are required to submit assignments showing weekly progress. The instructor reviewed the assignments submitted before the class and gave written comments in class. In addition, details of the design process and method that are difficult to identify as novice students are learned through twelve case studies and applied to the project. This Task Feedback Repeating Class system gives students the opportunity to implement design ability while gaining detailed skills with a comprehensive view. Through this process, the researcher got a reflection on the class and implications for the improvement of the class.


Preliminary Study on the Learning Pressure of Undergraduate Industrial Design Students

      - Wenzhi Chen


Learning pressure affects students’ learning process and performance. Industrial design education emphasizes that operations on real design problems that have heavy working loads may cause learning pressure. The purpose of this study is to explore the issues causing learning pressure and the pressure management strategies of undergraduate industrial design students. There were 297 students who participated in the questionnaire survey. The main findings are as follows: First, learning pressure includes academic pressure, peer pressure, self-expectations, time pressure, financial pressure, pressure from instructors, external pressure, future career, pressure from parents, resource pressure, achievement and situational pressure. In addition, the main learning pressure is caused by finance, time, resources, external issues and future career. Second, the pressure management strategies include problem solving, procrastination and escape, help seeking, leisure, emotional management and self-adjustment. The most useful strategy for managing pressure is leisure, and procrastination and escape is the least useful strategy. Third, all learning pressures are significantly correlated with procrastination and escape strategy, but the coefficients are low. The results can be a reference for industrial design education and related research.


Rewarding Risk: Exploring How to Encourage Learning that Comes from Taking Risks

•       Dennis Cheatham


High-stakes testing that became the norm after the “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001 helped condition students to strive for correct answers for clear problems, all on the first try. However, the iterative process inherent in designing requires risk-taking to conduct a trial-and-error process of defining problems and exploring possible solutions. This design research project was operated with Miami University Graphic Design students to test their willingness to take risks in their coursework to achieve their self-defined measures of success. Students identified that improving their skills was how they defined success. An interaction design assignment involving front-end coding was modified to test students’ comfort taking risks to grow their skills. Most students took risks in the assignment to grow their interaction design skills. The project revealed that closer attention to student motivation when developing learning experiences could help students make the transition to practicing design as an iterative process fraught with risk.


An Analysis of the Educational Value of PBL Design Workshops

•       Ikjoon Chang, Suhong Hwang


The purpose of this study is to plan and operate design-workshops based on project-based learning (PBL), and examine their educational value for students. The PBL workshop encourages direct participation from students and produces educational value, and it is important to raise the interest level of workshops to elicit proactive participation. The workshop in this study was carried out over 2 weeks in January 2017 at Korea’s Yonsei University. The workshop was composed of eight teams of students from three countries, including Korea, China and Japan, and the course was primarily divided into two sessions. The workshop participants examined in this thesis were notably satisfied with the elements of the course meant to garner interest. In the questionnaire results, participants also indicated that they obtained ample educational value through the workshop. An important element of the workshop was to connect the participants with businesses, which is also an important component of design education. Despite this, participants expressed a relatively lower level of satisfaction compared to other elements of the workshop. The results and analysis of this study will hopefully become a meaningful resource for educators when designing workshops in the future.


Collaborative Design Education with Industry: Student Perspective by Reflection

      - Nathan Kotlarewski, Louise Wallis, Michael Lee, Gregory Nolan, Megan Last


This study suggests that student reflection on academic and industry collaborative projects can enhance student’s understanding on the design process to solve live industry problems. It contributes to the body of design literature to support students learning of explicit and implicit knowledge. A 2017 learning by-making (LBM) unit in the School of Architecture and Design, at the University of Tasmania, Australia, developed a unit for students to collaborate with Neville Smith Forest Products Pty. Ltd (NSFP). NSFP is a local Tasmanian timber product manufacturer who currently stockpiles out-of-grade timber that has limited market applications. Undergraduate design students from second- and third-year Furniture, Interior and Architecture degrees collaborated with NSFP to value-add to their out-of-grade resource in the LBM unit. A series of design challenges, observations of industry practice and access to out-of-grade timber from NSFP exposed students to live industry problems and provided them the opportunity to build professional design skills. Students reflected on the collaborative LBM unit in a reflection journal, which was used to provide evidence of their learning experiences. The collaborative environment between academia and industry allowed students to acquire an understanding of timber product manufacturing that helped them develop empathy toward the industry problem and influence the development of new products. This study presents how student reflections influenced a change in their design process as they progressed through sequential design challenges to address an industry problem by adopting Valkenburg and Dorst reflective learning framework.


Interdisciplinary Trends in Design Education: The Analysis of Master Dissertation of College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University

•       Lisha Ren, Yan Wang


This paper expounds the background of Chinese design education as well as the orientation of the design education of Tongji University in the new times, it also collects 458 Master Thesis of College of Design and Innovation during 2010–2016 as analyzed sample. Based on the coding of subject classification, quantitative analysis and content analysis are made in order to understand the interdisciplinary education status of College of Design and Innovation from the two perspectives: the overall cross-disciplinary performance and the relationship between different cross-disciplinary directions.


From ANT to Material Agency: A Design and Science Research Workshop

•       Anne-Lyse Renon, A. De Montbron, Annie Gentes, Julien Bobroff


This paper studies a design workshop that investigates complex collaboration between fundamental physics and design. Our research focuses on how students create original artifacts that bridge the gap between disciplines that have very little in common. Our goal is to study the micro-evolutions of their projects. Elaborating first on Actor Network Theory we study how students’ projects evolved over time and through a diversity of inputs and media. Throughout this longitudinal study, we use then a semiotic and pragmatic approach to observe three “aesthetical formations”: translation, composition and stabilization. These formations suggest that the question of material agency developed in the field of archeology and cognitive science need to be considered in the design field to explain metamorphoses from the brief to the final realizations.


Related Topics: Cultural Studies

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