COMPUTER APPS FOR SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IN CONCEPTUAL DESIGN STUDIES
The main aim of learning design problem solving is to enable students to work their way out of design problems in an innovative, satisfactory and autonomous manner.
The ability to tackle unstructured problems differing from those discussed in the classroom should therefore be fostered. This training will be all the more effective if the student undergoes a self-directed learning process. In order to encourage self-directed learning in Conceptual Design studies –a degree course within Industrial Design Engineering at Universitat Jaume I in Castellón (Spain)-, the teaching hours were structured as follows:
- On-site theory and practical lessons representing 40% of the teaching load in which the teacher explains theory concepts and exercises are performed to help students understand the explanations.
- Non-presential lessons representing 60% of the teaching load in which the students make use of adequate class material and provided educational guides, following the orientation given by the teacher. These lessons have the following aims:
o To promote active, constructive learning.
o To improve student performance and satisfaction.
o To meet the requirements for the harmonization of the subject to the European space of higher education.
A Moodle-based collaborative environment (named Aula Virtual in its adaptation to Universitat Jaume I) enables the use of non-presential teaching methods that encourage self-learning. The implementation of self-assessment quizzes, web forums and the subject’s very own wiki within Aula Virtual makes it possible for students to learn not just the theory concepts needed to solve the design problems posed in the classroom, but also to tackle and solve design problems of all sorts in a creative, innovative and autonomous way, mirroring the challenges they will face in their careers.