Becoming a Design Coach: Shifting Pedagogy to Engage Design Thinking through Collaborative and Active Learning

By Valerie Sloan.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharpe suggests that to think outside of a box you have to first define that box. For millenials, the most sheltered generation, breaking rules, independent thinking, or exploring foreign territory (literally and figuratively) can be uncomfortable causing stress, anxiety and resistance. Not to mention, growing up with technology in a highly visual culture, students of design may have a preconceived idea or approach to solving problems. Over the course of several years of my own reflection, experimentation, and learning about pedagogical methods, I have developed a fresh approach to create a vibrant and collaborative, yet safe environment that provides the framework for students to transition to an elevated level of observation and thinking required of designers in the current industry. The approach can be modified depending on the level of the student or the demands of the course. But, the essence remains the same: developing a structured safe environment that encourages students to practice, explore, experiment, take chances, reflect, and analyze. The path to becoming a design coach, includes collaborating with students in order to assess their individual learning style and intuitive problem-solving skills in an active learning environment. This paper will outline the steps on this path and include three sample projects for various levels of the design curriculum.

Keywords: Pedagogy, Collaborative Learning, Active Learning, Skills Assessment for Problem-Solving

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.191-202. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.549MB).

Valerie Sloan

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Department of Communications and Graphic Design, Roger Williams University, Providence, RI, USA


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