Creating an Authentic Learning Environment: Is Multidisciplinary Design Education Successful in Facilitating Real-world Learning?

By Katja Fleischmann.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 25, 2014 $US5.00

The education of digital media designers is largely structured around design students working individually on projects or in teams of designers. This is despite the fact that the intersection of several disciplines is a workplace reality. As a result, design students are being poorly prepared for working as part of multidisciplinary teams. In recognition of these shortcomings, a learning and teaching approach – the POOL Model framework – was developed to create a learning environment that is reflective of industry practice. The framework structures learning around multidisciplinary collaborative teamwork, engaging design students in project work with students from other disciplines such as information technology or multimedia journalism. The effectiveness of this approach in supporting real-world learning was first investigated in an undergraduate digital media design degree program over a period of three years. The relevance of this experience in the workplace was later explored once students had graduated and were working in the industry.

Keywords: design education, employability, authentic learning

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 8, Issue 1, June 2014, pp.53-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 25, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 657.194KB)).

Dr. Katja Fleischmann

Senior Lecturer, School of Creative Arts, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Katja Fleischmann holds a PhD (JCU), a Master of Fine Arts degree (multimedia) from the University of Miami (USA) and a bachelor’s degree in communication design (Germany). Her international experience gained while working in the UK, USA and Germany as designer and design educator informs a variety of research interests which include design futures; design thinking as a tool for economic, public and social innovation; multi- and trans-disciplinary design processes and design pedagogy with particular focus on the future of design education. She has extensive experience in curriculum development and has received recognition for her work from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Her work as researcher has been published in a variety of forums.