Design Structures: Improving the quality of in-class design critiques | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1474-273X
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0896


This article reports on a critiquing method called Design Structures that incorporates cooperative learning and teaching strategies in order to improve student participation during in-class design critiques (crits). The approach was used in a first-year design course and the quality of experience for students during whole-class crits was compared with the quality of experience for students during Design Structures group crits. Quality of experience levels were consistently higher overall for students during the Design Structures crits – specifically in the areas of self-esteem, perceived importance of task, challenge and skill. Furthermore, more design students reported being ‘in flow’ and less apathetic during decentralized crits using Design Structures methodology than during centralized crits utilizing teacher-led, whole-class instruction strategies. This article also offers suggestions to design educators for effectively incorporating cooperative learning methodology such as Design Structures into their pedagogy.


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