Formal Learning Sequences and Progression in the Studio: A Framework for Digital Design Education

Pontus Wärnestål
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 15  •  2016  •  pp. 035-052
This paper examines how to leverage the design studio learning environment throughout long-term Digital Design education in order to support students to progress from tactical, well-defined, device-centric routine design, to confidently design sustainable solutions for strategic, complex, problems for a wide range of devices and platforms in the digital space. We present a framework derived from literature on design, creativity, and theories on learning that: (a) implements a theory of formal learning sequences as a user-centered design process in the studio; and (b) describes design challenge progressions in the design studio environment modeled in seven dimensions. The framework can be used as a tool for designing, evaluating, and communicating course progressions within – and between series of – design studio courses. This approach is evaluated by implementing a formal learning sequence framework in a series of design studio courses that progress in an undergraduate design-oriented Informatics program. Reflections from students, teachers, and external clients indicate high student motivation and learning goal achievement, high teacher satisfaction and skill development, and high satisfaction among external clients.
Education, design studio learning, Human-Computer Interaction, user-centered design, formation and transformation of knowledge
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