DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Taverna, Andrea; Manciaracina, Andrea; Cipriani, Laura; Mattioli, Francesca
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Section: Established, alternative and emerging educational paradigms to equip engineers and designers for future challenges
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.83
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


Innovation of didactic is an increasingly strategic goal for universities to equip students with the right competencies for modern and complex challenges and for continuously changing working contexts. Universities need to cope both with preparing learners for jobs that still don’t exist and be competitive towards emerging players in the context of education and training. The label “innovative didactic” generally refers to the idea of a cultural and epistemological transformation that has the potential to change the teaching and learning models. Specifically, the innovation of the instructional design approach suggests moving from the conventional ex-cathedra lectures to a more active involvement of students in the learning process. Indeed, the concept that innovation in didactics only relates to digital technologies is limited. In fact, the research in this field aims, more broadly, to experiment with new educational practices and methodologies that relate pedagogy, space, and technologies and reflect on the synergies of the different elements. Lately, the pandemic and digital transformation are two of the main issues that have pushed the discussion around this topic. On one hand, the sudden restrictions in the context of didactic imposed by COVID-19 oriented the research toward strategies to cope also with distance education. On the other hand, digital transformation has transversally affected learning and teaching settings for over two decades. The design discipline has always pursued experimentation in its didactics and by nature design-based learning often offers a teaching setting, such as studio-based classes, which places the students with an active role at the centre of the learning process. Examples of these innovative teaching practices might be found in design literature, but there is a lack of extensive studies on how the teaching innovation process is being handled and tracked by design schools. The paper illustrates a funded research project, [project name], aimed at investigating the perimeter of innovation in design education. The research focuses on the situated context of [university] to comprehend how experimentation in university courses can lead to the innovation of design didactics. The paper presents the results of two research activities: a survey that has been sent to all the lecturers at the School of Design of [university], which aimed to map the experimental practices in the courses in the last decade and two sets of interviews. One set, as a follow-up of the practices collected, and the second set, to relevant actors in the didactic organization to comprehend how the ecosystem can enable these experimentations. The data collected disclosed that various experimentations are currently running in our context, and they could contribute to understanding how design teaching and learning are recently evolving. Moreover, the interviews have been designed with a semi-structured protocol to foster teachers' narratives of their experimental practices. In conclusion, the investigation developed in our situated context contributes to the discussion of understanding how experimentation in design courses can bring the innovation of didactic. Hence, it provides a series of protocols that might be used in other contexts to expand the scope of the research.

Keywords: Design education, Innovative didactics, Experimental practices, Instructional design, Educational research


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