Empowering Students in Leading their Education and Practice: The Design Workbook

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International Journal of Art and Design Education


© 2019 The Authors. iJADE © 2019 NSEAD/John Wiley & Sons Ltd How does education prepare future designers for current and future requirements of the field? An attempt to respond to this question is presented through the Design Workbook: a curricular project that has been proposed and developed over the course of three phases. In Phase One, the objectives, structure and format were defined: an online interface containing activities organised under five chapters that aim at building students’ creative confidence and sensitivity to surrounding contexts, and prepare them to lead their career path. In Phase Two, the website was developed to its first usable version, and content applied into live classes. Phase Three was marked with content refinement for the activities, navigation and feature redesign in the interface, and new ways of conducting the course. The article summarises learning points from the first two phases, and provides new findings and analyses from the final phase. It also includes a sample of the activities content, student works and feedback as well as the interface development stages. The methodology utilised throughout consisted of active research, as well as learning outcomes assessment using direct and indirect measures. Assessment results and classroom observations confirmed that students benefit greatly from visualising ideas, hands on activities, design thinking workshops, as well as from collaborative experiences, to avoid facing designer's block and to practise empowerment of self and others. Finally, challenges, opportunities and future implications are discussed, alongside implementation possibilities: The Design Workbook can run as a sole course, spread across the curriculum, and expand into the community.

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