Collaborative Learning in Design Education: The Value of Collaboration and Collective Experience in Team Projects

By Alexander Pawson.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: May 26, 2016 $US5.00

Universities traditionally teach students using a model based in individual recognition that discourages group submission; yet developmental research shows significant benefits to a collaborative approach to learning. These studies highlight the learning benefits of peer interaction particularly within the context of group discourse and reflection common to collaborative design education. Students learn from the design approaches, experience, and actions displayed in a team dynamic as design decisions are debated and trade-offs weighed up. Simultaneously, the capacity benefits of multiple team members allow students to consider more aspects of a design problem and achieve advanced design outputs. This paper explores the process students undertake in the pursuit of a collaborative goal, and the types of learning opportunities they are exposed to as individuals and collaborative peers. Research from the design and psychology fields is examined and synthesized to highlight the benefits of teaching design using a collaborative approach.

Keywords: Collaborative Learning, Collaboration, Design, Design Teams, Design Education,, Education, Group Learning, Peer Learning

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 10, Issue 3, September, 2016, pp.65-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: May 26, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 619.974KB)).

Alexander Pawson

Graduate Student, Division of Design, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA