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Sketching Design Thinking: Representations of Design in Education and Practice
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Sketching Design Thinking: Representations of Design in Education and Practice


Research on design pedagogy has shown that students progress through a variety of barriers on the path to becoming a successful design practitioner, and that frameworks for explicit reflection can be …

Research on design pedagogy has shown that students progress through a variety of barriers on the path to becoming a successful design practitioner, and that frameworks for explicit reflection can be beneficial to the development of design students. Schön uses the concept of reflection-on-action to describe one form of reflection on design practice, with the eventual goal of improving design processes and judgment. In this study, sketching is used as a form of reflection-on-action in a first semester intensive course in interaction design (IxD). This sketch reflects the student’s current understanding of the “whole game” or holistic view of design in IxD. Current practitioners in IxD companies were asked to draw the “whole game” sketch as well. Parallels among the sketches and areas of divergence are discussed. In summary, students shifted from abstract, linear representations of process early in the semester to more concrete, iterative representations by the end of their first semester. Practitioner sketches were more abstract and linear, but also included representations of business terminology and design teams.

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  • 1. SketchingDesign Thinking:Representations ofDesign in Educationand PracticeColin M. Gray & Martin A. SiegelDRS // CUMULUS | May 15, 2013
  • 2. Reflection is embedded in a variety ofeducational domains(Ellmers, 2006; Rogers, 2001; Schön, 1983)Creation of schema as potentially evaluativein relation to design expertise?(Nelson & Stolterman, 2012; Siegel & Stolterman, 2008)Viewing the design studio as “a coherentsystem of activity” that connects to practice(Brandt, et al., 2011; Shaffer, 2007)background
  • 3. review ofliterature
  • 4. literature“Playing the Whole Game”Viewing education in a holistic, action-driven way(Perkins, 2010)Linking education and practice together through the studio(Schön, 1983; Shulman, 2005)
  • 5. literatureReflectionReflection-in-action as a tacit process “in the moment”(Schön, 1983)Reflection-on-action as a more explicit act(Ellmers, 2006; Schön, 1983)
  • 6. literatureExpertise in Design PracticeGeneric model of expertise(Dreyfus, 2003; Lawson & Dorst, 2009)Domain specific model of expertise in interaction design(Siegel & Stolterman, 2008)
  • 7. context
  • 8. First-year Master’s students in the Human-ComputerInteraction design (HCI/d) program in a School ofInformaticsInteraction design practitionerscontext
  • 9. dataStudents (60)Three “whole game of HCI” sketches during anintroductory design course (undergraduate andgraduate students)Practitioners (6)One “whole game of HCI” sketch completed duringan interview for a larger study
  • 10. methods
  • 11. methodsThematic codingAnalysis of formal visual characteristics
  • 12. analysisAnalysis of intact sets of student reflection sketchesSketches coded based on organizational paradigms andformal characteristics
  • 13. findings
  • 14. ROUND 1
  • 15. ROUND 1
  • 16. ROUND 1
  • 17. ROUND 1
  • 18. ROUND 1
  • 19. ROUND 1
  • 20. ROUND 1
  • 21. ROUND 2
  • 22. ROUND 2
  • 23. ROUND 2
  • 24. ROUND 2
  • 25. ROUND 2
  • 26. ROUND 2
  • 27. ROUND 2
  • 28. ROUND 2
  • 29. ROUND 3
  • 30. ROUND 3
  • 31. ROUND 3
  • 32. ROUND 3
  • 33. findingsBeginning designer to hardened professionalRisk-averse and simplistic to chaotic and deepLinear to non-linear to linearIndividual designer to team of collaborators
  • 35. next steps
  • 36. next stepsRicher data collection to establish context surrounding thecreation of these sketches (currently underway)Additional work on reflection as a way to externalize conceptionsof design thinking
  • 37. referencesBrandt, Carol B., Cennamo, Katherine, Douglas, Sarah, Vernon,Mitzi, McGrath, Margarita & Yolanda Reimer. 2011. “A theoreticalframework for the studio as a learning environment”. InternationalJournal of Technology and Design Education, 1-20. doi:10.1007/s10798-011-9181-5Dreyfus, Stuart E. 1981. Formal models vs. Human situationalunderstanding: Inherent limitations on the modeling of businessexpertise. Berkeley: Operations Research Center, University ofCalifornia.Dreyfus, H. L. 2003. The Spinoza Lectures. University ofAmsterdam.Dubberly, Hugh. 2004. How do you design: A compendium ofmodels. San Francisco, CA: Dubberly Design Office. Retrievedfrom, Grant. 2006. “Reflection and graphic design pedagogy:Developing a reflective framework to enhance learning in agraphic design tertiary environment”. In Proceedings of thinkingthe future: Art, design and creativity: ACUADAS 2006 conference.Rogers, Russell R. 2001. “Reflection in higher education: Aconcept analysis”. Innovative Higher Education, 26(1): 37-57. doi:10.1023/A:101098640452Lawson, Bryan, & Kees Dorst. 2009. “Expertise in design”. InDesign expertise, 81-112. Oxford: Architectural Press.Nelson, Harold G., and Erik Stolterman. 2012. The design way:Intentional change in an unpredictable world (2nd ed.).Cambridge: MIT Press.Perkins, David N. 2010. Making learning whole: How sevenprinciples of teaching can transform education. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.Shaffer, David W. (2003). Portrait of the oxford design studio: Anethnography of design pedagogy. WCER Working Paper No.2003-11. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison,Wisconsin Center for Educational Research.Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: Howprofessionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.Schön, Donald A. 1985. The design studio: An exploration of itstraditions and potentials. London: RIBA Publications Limited.Schön, Donald A. 1987. Educating the reflective practitioner:Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Siegel, Martin A., and Erik Stolterman. 2008. “Metamorphosis:Transforming non-designers into designers”. In Undisciplined!Proceedings of the Design Research Society Conference 2008:378:1-13. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Hallam University.