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Exploring the Lived Experience of Learners: Broadening our Understanding of Aesthetic Learning Experiences


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In recent years, there has been increasing focus on aesthetic learning experiences. We propose expanding this focus to account for the felt learner experience, including a deeper understanding of how learners build learning spaces surrounding the formal curriculum. This study is based on a one-year ethnography of a design studio, documenting how students actively engaged in informal learning in support and reaction to the formal pedagogy. Implications for the design of learning experiences are discussed.

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Exploring the Lived Experience of Learners: Broadening our Understanding of Aesthetic Learning Experiences

  1. 1. exploring the lived experience of learners broadening our understanding of aesthetic learning experiences colin m. gray NOV 5 2014
  2. 2. research focus HCI DESIGN ISD
  3. 3. what is HCI? ❖ Human-Computer Interaction (design) ❖ Roots in cognitive psychology ❖ Recent “turn to design” and approaches from the humanities ❖ All around us—from web sites to smartphone apps to wearable computing and beyond ❖ Careers include: interaction design, experience design, user research HCI DESIGN
  4. 4. JAN 2013—DEC 2013
  5. 5. JAN 2013—DEC 2013 451 hours of field work 53 critical interviews 111 survey responses 3525 photos 556 audio segments (276+ hours) 19 faculty reflections
  6. 6. JAN 2013—DEC 2013 Student-created Facebook groups with 8,000+ status updates and 20,000+ comments from late 2010 through 2013
  7. 7. why does identity matter in IDT? ❖ Current state of design in IDT ❖ Universal and linear (Smith & Boling, 2009) ❖ Decontextualized from specific learners or environments of use (Boling & Smith, 2012) ❖ We are not taking our own advice (Schön, 1987; Lawson & Dorst, 2009) ❖ Rethinking design in IDT ❖ Returning our focus to the designer (Schwier, Campbell, & Kenny, 2007) ❖ Moving beyond tools, processes, and techniques (Boling & Smith, 2012) ❖ Identity shapes design practice (Schwier, Campbell, & Kenny, 2007; Osguthorpe & Osguthorpe, 2007)
  8. 8. STUDENT EXPERIENCE FORMAL PEDAGOGY (Carspecken, 1996; Crysler, 1995; Dutton, 1991; Gray, 2013b)
  9. 9. STUDENT EXPERIENCE FORMAL PEDAGOGY PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE COMMUNITY (Brandt, et al. 2011; Dannels & Martin, 2008; Gray, 2014; Shaffer, 2003)
  10. 10. the design studio ❖ The design studio as a signature pedagogy (Shulman, 2005). ❖ This pedagogy is the core of traditional design fields, and is increasingly being adopted in fields without a design pedigree (Boling 2010; Brandt, et al., 2008; Clinton & Rieber, 2010) ❖ Viewing the design studio as “a coherent system of activity” (Gray, 2013c; Shaffer, 2007)
  11. 11. identity and student experience ❖ Pedagogy moves the student toward mastery in design expertise (Lawson & Dorst, 2009). This is linked to a change: ❖ in their design thinking (Cross, 1982, 2011; Siegel & Stolterman, 2008) ❖ through a constant movement between being and becoming a designer (Carspecken & Cordeiro, 1995; Nelson & Stolterman, 2012) ❖ forming the identity of the individual designer (Gray, 2013b; Nelson & Stolterman, 2012).
  12. 12. research site ❖ Human-Computer Interaction MS program taught with a design emphasis ❖ Situated within a school of informatics in a large midwestern university ❖ Students come with virtually no design experience ❖ Wide range of access to formal and informal spaces ❖ Non-classroom studio space
  13. 13. navigating the student experience Gray, C. M. (2013). Emergent critique in informal design talk: Reflections of surface, pedagogical, and epistemological features in an HCI studio. In Critique 2013: An international conference reflecting on creative practice in art, architecture, and design (pp. 341-355). Adelaide, South Australia: University of South Australia. Gray, C. M. & Howard, C. D. (2014). Designerly Talk in Non-Pedagogical Social Spaces. Journal of Learning Design, 7(1), 40-58.
  15. 15. DESIGN STUDIO FACEBOOK GROUPS 1 year ethnography participant observation audio recordings photographs critical interviews artifact analysis 5 student-created groups 4,558 status updates 15,273 comments
  16. 16. DESIGN STUDIO FACEBOOK GROUPS analysis of critical discussions about design, termed designerly talk analysis of how critique emerged between peers
  17. 17. DESIGN STUDIO FACEBOOK GROUPS instances of designerly talk that occur outside of the formal curriculum: professional tools creating a portfolio sharing skills being an ethical designer instigating interactions included: overheard/seen smalltalk/social talk showing off planned/scheduled request for advice
  18. 18. building an independent identity ❖ Students built a proto-professional community of practice in the studio and online space. ❖ They actively engaged with other students in a role that was distinct from the pedagogy and linked to future professional practice. This highlights the possibilities for learning in both formal and informal learning spaces. ❖ The students’ increasingly independent identity includes: ❖ a fuller realization of personal agency and responsibility as designers, ❖ while also developing an individual understanding and practice of design.
  19. 19. identity construction NAVIGATING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE building an independent identity INSIDE THE FORMAL PEDAGOGY breaking down & reconstructing identity LOCATING PEDAGOGY IN PRACTICE co-constructing identity with future practice
  20. 20. implications ❖ STUDENT EXPERIENCE ❖ Pedagogy is non-deterministic ❖ Informal construction of learning spaces by students is occurring ❖ INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN EDUCATION ❖ Value and seek out the felt experience of a pedagogy ❖ Focus on the development of learning experiences ❖ Understand and legitimate informal learning spaces where they exist
  21. 21. future work ❖ Understanding how students informally construct their own learning spaces and learning opportunities that are shaped by, but not determined by the formal pedagogy. ❖ Documenting how the the formal pedagogy can legitimate informal structures in the learner experience, and how this fits into a broader understanding of instructional design. ❖ How can we create learning experiences that lead to this kind of iterative identity construction? And what impact does this have on the reproduction of disciplinary identities and norms?
  22. 22. thank you
  23. 23. references Boling, E., & Smith, K. M. (2010). Intensive studio experience in a non-studio masters program: Student activities and thinking across levels of design. In Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference, Montréal, Canada. Boling, E., & Smith, K. M. (2012). The changing nature of design. In R. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed., pp. 358-366). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Brandt, C. B., Cennamo, K., Douglas, S., Vernon, M., McGrath, M., & Reimer, Y. (2011). A theoretical framework for the studio as a learning environment. International Journal of Technology and Design Education. doi:10.1007/s10798-011-9181-5 Carspecken, P. F. (1996). Critical ethnography in educational research: A theoretical and practical guide. New York, NY: Routledge. Carspecken, P. F., & Cordeiro, P. A. (1995). Being, doing, and becoming: Textual interpretations of social identity and a case study. Qualitative Inquiry, 1(1), 87-109. Cross, N. (1982). Designerly ways of knowing. Design Studies, 3(4), 221-227. Cross, N. (2011). Design thinking: Understanding how designers think and work. Oxford, UK: Berg. Crysler, C. G. (1995). Critical pedagogy and architectural education. Journal of Architectural Education, 48(4), 208-217. Dannels, D. P., & Martin, K. N. (2008). Critiquing critiques: A genre analysis of feedback across novice to expert design studios. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 22(2), 135-159. doi: 10.1177/105065190731192 Dutton, T. A. (1991). The hidden curriculum and the design studio: Toward a critical studio pedagogy . In T. A. Dutton (Ed.), Voices in architectural education: Cultural politics and pedagogy (pp. 165-194). New York, NY: Bergin & Garvey. Gray, C. M. (in press). Evolution of design competence in UX practice. In CHI’14: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. New York, NY: ACM Press. Gray, C. M. (2013a). Emergent critique in informal design talk: Reflections of surface, pedagogical, and epistemological features in an HCI studio. In Critique 2013: An international conference reflecting on creative practice in art, architecture, and design (pp. 341-355). Adelaide, South Australia: University of South Australia. Gray, C. M. (2013b). Factors that shape design thinking. Design and Technology Education, 18(3), 8-20. Gray, C. M. (2013c). Informal peer critique and the negotiation of habitus in a design studio. In DRS // CUMULUS 2013: 2nd international conference for design education researchers (pp. 702-714). Oslo, Norway: HiOA. Gray, C. M. & Howard, C. D. (2014). Designerly talk in non-pedagogical social spaces. Journal of Learning Design, 7(1). Gray, C. M., & Siegel, M. A. (in press). Sketching design thinking: Representations of design in education and practice. Design and Technology Education, 19(1). Gray, C. M., & Siegel, M. A. (2013). Sketching design thinking: Representations of design in education and practice . In DRS // CUMULUS 2013. 2nd international conference for design education researchers (pp. 2008-2031). Oslo, Norway: HiOA.
  24. 24. references Lawson, B., & Dorst, K. (2009). Design expertise. Oxford, UK: Architectural Press Nelson, H. G., & Stolterman, E. (2012). The design way: Intentional change in an unpredictable world (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Osguthorpe, R.R. and Osguthorpe, R.D. (2007). Instructional design as a living practice: Toward a conscience of craft. Educational Technology, 47(4), 13-23. Reimer, Y. J., & Douglas, S. A. (2003). Teaching HCI design with the studio approach. Computer Science Education, 13(3), 191-205. Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner: Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Schwier, R., Campbell, K. and Kenny, R. (2007). Instructional designers’ perceptions of their agency: Tales of change and community. In M. J. Keppell (Ed.), Instructional Design: Case Studies in Communities of Practice. Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing. Shaffer, D. W. (2003). Portrait of the oxford design studio: An ethnography of design pedagogy. WCER Working Paper No. 2003-11. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. Shulman, L. S. (2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134(3), 52-59. Smith, K. M., & Boling, E. (2009). What do we make of design? Design as a concept in educational technology. Educational Technology, 49(4), 3-17