Developments in design pedagogy

Michael Tovey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


There is a long tradition of teaching design through design practice in universities and colleges. The end goal for graduates is to achieve a level of capability to function as designers in the professional world. This paper describes recent design education research by the author and others. It has taken a number of directions, focusing on the designer, the design context and the design interface. The end goal is programmes which are directed towards equipping graduates for entry to the community of professional practice. With the engagement of practitioners in the process, various teaching strategies can accommodate these approaches. The studio, tutorial, library and crit. are the traditional components, but using them effectively requires a deep understanding of the designerly way of knowing, and success depends on facilitating the agile navigation through the design process. Learning experiences should develop natural motivations to create a resilient, informed and sustainable capacity. Transformative learning is the key to gaining entry to the various practitioner communities. Each has its signature pedagogy and tutors support their students to become designers in ways specific to particular disciplines. They approach their teaching in qualitatively different ways, and engaging with the social practices and visual codes which constitute the particular design practice, illustrating them through case studies.. This can be approached by strengthening studio culture to provide safe spaces for creative and problem-centred learning and 'gateway' strategies of assessment. Key to sustaining motivation in this context is the toleration of design uncertainty as a threshold concept. Negotiating it successfully involves entering a liminal space in order to develop confidence and skills. Students need the time, space and structure to immerse themselves into a design brief, engaging in a reflective process to resolve the contradictions of a dual processing cognitive model. This work has been brought together in a recent publication which provides a synthesis and overview.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS82: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE15), Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research & Enterprise
EditorsGuy Bingham, Darren Southee, John McCardle, Ahmed Kovacevic, Erik Bohemia, Brian Parkinson
PublisherThe Design Society
ISBN (Print)978-1-904670-62-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

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  • CETLs
  • Communities of Practice
  • Design education research
  • Pedagogy


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