About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6097-6101
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2383

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

THE INVERSE RELATION BETWEEN SCAFFOLDING AND COMPLEXITY IN DESIGN EDUCATION

E.J. Granberg, M. Suleiman, H. El-Hammali

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (QATAR)
This paper aims to discuss the framework of scaffolding theory within a design studio environment carried out at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, an American institution embedded in the Gulf region. The research question is: “How do we turn good students into good designers? In other words, “How to transform students into colleagues while already in an academic environment?”

Previously we have developed a body of research on upper design studios. In this research, we pull back the pedagogical scaffolding making way for increased complexity in order to foster critical practitioners ready for a life outside school. This transitional process is, of course, important in any design environment; however, it is crucial in the emerging design environment of Qatar. Despite efforts in every level of the education, we still found a deficiency in some core of design skills, such as: critical thinking, problem solving, and self-motivation in the senior student body. This inherent problem stems from a local high school system that somewhat lacks emphasis on these skills. To make matters worse the “Piecemeal” system of an American school does not automatically provide a clear synthesising of knowledge. Courses have a tendency to operate as random silos with minimal to no connections. In this setup, didactic outcome becomes more of an added complicatedness rather than complexity.

The pedagogical experience from upper design studio led us to reform how we approach the earlier formative studios. In this particular studio, Sophomore second semester, we worked to break the silos and promote students to synthesize an increased complexity as well as balance their schedule.

This was done in a three-pronged approach:
• Bring the technical classes into the design studio,
• A hands-on approach to problem solving, and
• A cyclical revisit to the same object.

The technical courses – materials and AutoCAD usually taught as disparate units was amalgamated with the studio class. Knowledge gained in the technical classes was logically transferable into the studio project. Gradual complexity was achieved through successive gains of technical proficiencies. In combination, the students explore these applications through a hands-on phenomenological approach. This technique promotes a multisensory approach to problem solving and a direct path into critical thinking through trial and error. These two approaches were then applied on the same architectural space i.e. we return cyclically to the same architectural object with added and increased complexity. The challenge was to create a roadmap that progressively provided less scaffolding over time. starting with a relatively small and simple object with added layers over time that paved the way for a deeper complexity less complicatedness.

This multifaceted approach was supported by the introduction of learning techniques such as: self-studies in groups, seminars, workshops, and student-made tutorials. As the project developed, the role of the teacher changed from a classical instructor to a more pulled-back role of an older colleague. Although our findings are site specific we believe the outcome is applicable in other academic environments.
@InProceedings{GRANBERG2017INV,
author = {Granberg, E.J. and Suleiman, M. and El-Hammali, H.},
title = {THE INVERSE RELATION BETWEEN SCAFFOLDING AND COMPLEXITY IN DESIGN EDUCATION},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.2383},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.2383},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {6097-6101}}
TY - CONF
AU - E.J. Granberg AU - M. Suleiman AU - H. El-Hammali
TI - THE INVERSE RELATION BETWEEN SCAFFOLDING AND COMPLEXITY IN DESIGN EDUCATION
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2383
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 6097
EP - 6101
ER -
E.J. Granberg, M. Suleiman, H. El-Hammali (2017) THE INVERSE RELATION BETWEEN SCAFFOLDING AND COMPLEXITY IN DESIGN EDUCATION, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 6097-6101.
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