Teaching Conceptual Design

DS 74: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE12) Design Education for Future Wellbeing, Antwerp, Belguim, 06-07.9.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering TU Delft, The Netherlands; 2: Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade T
Section: Design Education in Practice
Page(s): 261-266
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


This paper presents the first observational study of an ongoing research project. The research focuses on ‘teaching conceptual design’ and on the investigation of new teaching methods and strategies. Presently, in the commonly established educational setting, students practice the role of designing during design exercises while being tutored by a design teacher. In these circumstances, teacher and student interaction is of paramount importance. However, it is very difficult for teachers to effectively guide students during conceptual design, even though various idea-generation techniques are available. What's more, studies have centred mainly on the student, resulting in a lack of studies on the teacher's role. As such, we focused our pilot-study on the teacher's role as he interacts with a student during the conceptual design activity of a design project. The study was conducted in a real-class setting, with seventeen 2nd year design students. The observations were meant to be as unobtrusive as possible; we used a small audio-recorder to record the teacher/student conversations, and there were no direct interventions from the researcher. The audio recordings' content was then categorized and encoded in order to facilitate the data analysis. The analysis of the observations was highly fruitful. The model we developed for the analysis proved to be valuable and the results allow us to build upon what was done onto further empirical inquiry. In general, our findings indicate that this setting has potential to provide insight into the way design conceptualizing unfolds in an educational setting.

Keywords: Design education, conceptual design, observational study.


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