About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4255-4262
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1938

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

BASIC DESIGN AND THE BASICS OF LEARNING. AN EXPERIMENTAL “EXTRA-SYLLABUS” EXPERIENCE FOR DESIGN BEGINNERS

S.D. Ferraris, F. Mattioli, E. Cucchetto, M. Febbo

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
This paper describes an experimental “extra-syllabus” educational experience held at the Design School of Politecnico di Milano, Italy, during the first year of the Bachelor Degree in Product Design, in the “Visual Elements Design Studio” which is divided into two main parts.
In the first one, teachers describe theoretical elements of visual perception applied to product design and students weekly deliver individual Basic Design exercises. The objective is to teach the fundamental principles of perception that concur to define the formal generation of an artifact. The second part is a team design exercise called “resetting and reshaping” consisting in the application of the visual elements, which have been previously taught, to redesign a set of basic products.

During the AY 2017/18 course edition, an experimental self-reflecting activity was proposed to the students during the first part of the course, aside from the usual lectures and exercises. The conceptual idea behind this activity is that the learning process is successful if the learner is deeply engaged, aware and active in the process of learning, especially when the subject of the study is abstract and not easy to link with its practical application. That, indeed, is the case of the Basic Design exercises on perception developed in this Design Studio. To promote students’ engagement in the learning process, the authors proposed this self-reflecting activity for the students after the delivery of each weekly homework. Even though the activity was not included in the syllabus, not evaluated, and not mandatory, most of the students took part in the weekly self-reflection moments.

Firstly, to introduce the activity, a short “icebreaking” exercise has been presented; the exercise was divided into a very short practical activity, followed by a short questionnaire containing some self-reflection questions. Once all the students finished the questionnaire, the teachers commented on the exercise and explained the meaning of the proposed questions. The purpose was to guide the students by giving them some examples of self-reflective questions they should have asked their selves during the upcoming exercises.

In the following months, every morning after homework exercises delivery, students were encouraged to freely self-reflect on their learning process by writing down some notes to describe their thoughts and feelings about what they lived while doing the delivered homework. Since an important aspect of the activity was to let the students feel comfortable while expressing their thoughts, they signed their notes using a nickname instead of their full names. The notes were collected in individual envelopes named by nicknames.

The results collected are presented and discussed in this paper. A qualitative analysis of the students’ notes revealed that there were some recurring comments and some very personal ones. The lecture-by-lecture feedback could be indeed extremely useful to assess the way an academic design course has been perceived by the class. These comments were, in the specific case, either about the making of the exercise and about the students’ personal experiences, allowing the authors to frame a complete picture of the exercise experiences. The activity has been a powerful tool to stimulate self-reflection, but also to gain insightful feedback on the course, which will be precious data to set the path for further developments of the Basic Design exercises.
@InProceedings{FERRARIS2018BAS,
author = {Ferraris, S.D. and Mattioli, F. and Cucchetto, E. and Febbo, M.},
title = {BASIC DESIGN AND THE BASICS OF LEARNING. AN EXPERIMENTAL “EXTRA-SYLLABUS” EXPERIENCE FOR DESIGN BEGINNERS},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.1938},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.1938},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {4255-4262}}
TY - CONF
AU - S.D. Ferraris AU - F. Mattioli AU - E. Cucchetto AU - M. Febbo
TI - BASIC DESIGN AND THE BASICS OF LEARNING. AN EXPERIMENTAL “EXTRA-SYLLABUS” EXPERIENCE FOR DESIGN BEGINNERS
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.1938
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 4255
EP - 4262
ER -
S.D. Ferraris, F. Mattioli, E. Cucchetto, M. Febbo (2018) BASIC DESIGN AND THE BASICS OF LEARNING. AN EXPERIMENTAL “EXTRA-SYLLABUS” EXPERIENCE FOR DESIGN BEGINNERS, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 4255-4262.
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