PACKAGING DESIGN: LEARNING THROUGH FICTIONAL CASES OR REAL CASES? COMPARATIVE STUDY OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE OVER 8 ACADEMIC YEARS

F. Felip, J. Gual, M.L. García

Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
In the practical subjects of the Degrees in Industrial Design students usually apply theoretical knowledge to solve complex cases, but in many occasions these cases are only fictional. However, it is also possible to provide students with cases that respond to real needs, and on many occasions it is the companies that propose them through contests. Numerous experiences endorse the Competition-Based Learning (CBL) as a working methodology that improves the motivation of the students. But it is worth asking to what extent this motivation achieves a significant improvement in student performance.

This paper hypothesizes that the performance of industrial design students is higher when they work to solve real cases than when they have to solve fictional cases. To demonstrate it, the average grades obtained during 8 academic years in a subject related to packaging are compared. Between 2011 and 2014, students were presented with a fictional case in which it was necessary to solve a specific need for a new type of packaging. Between 2015 and 2018 a similar exercise was planned, but based on real cases proposed by companies in the sector. In both cases, the exercise was planned during the central weeks of the semester, the students were given a similar period of time to develop them (around 4 weeks), and they were evaluated according to similar criteria.

The results of this study show that the orientation of the exercises towards real cases through participation in contests seems to have a slight positive influence on student performance (+3.25%), so it is possible to demonstrate that the incorporation of CBL as a teaching methodology is generally positive for design students, given that it improves both their motivation and the quality of their proposals and has a positive impact on their performance.