The Design Decision Trail: A Student Design Project Narrative, Tutorial Tool and Route to Employability

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
Author: Attenburrow, Derek Howard
Series: E&PDE
Institution: The University of Northampton, United Kingdom
Section: Professional Perspectives for Design Students
Page(s): 737-741
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


This paper describes the invention, development and subsequent inclusion of a design decision trail in undergraduate and postgraduate design courses at the University of Northampton. The design decision trail focuses on personal growth, academic development, reflective approaches to study and potential employability. The design decision trail is created by the student as a visual narrative of their design project, which captures the signposting and timing of critical design decisions. This can be utilised in tutorials as a tool through which students and tutors can reflect on the student’s performance and provides an opportunity to undertake formative assessment in an innovative and individualised style. A successful design decision trail can reflect the knowledge, understanding and progression of the student as their decision trail unfolds. It can also highlight their problem solving techniques by pinpointing where they altered or added to the design. The immediacy of a visual design decision trail allows for the sharing of information with staff, peers and potential employers.

Keywords: Design decision trail, creativity auditing, project narrative, reflective learning tool, employability


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