POSTGRADUATE ART AND DESIGN LEARNERS AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES: A LEARNER-CENTRED APPROACH

N. Souleles

Cyprus University of Technology (CYPRUS)
Challenges associated with teaching social science research methodologies include a general absence of learner interest, and the difficulty of communicating related abstract concepts that are often difficult for learners to comprehend. The lack of agreement on what methodologies are suitable for art and design compounds the challenge.

The purpose of the instructional initiative described in this paper is to:
a) implement a learner-centred approach, and
b) to make the subject relevant to the disciplinary interests of the learners.

The classes entail the use of moveable chairs that allows learners to break into groups, and use of an AV projector so that each group can make their weekly presentation. The thirteen-week long unit of study is divided into themes covering a different methodology each time. The learners form groups that consist of two to three in each, and each group selects a different methodology to present to the rest of the class each week. To make certain that learners who are not presenting on a given week engage with the sessions, the rest of the class prepare and submit for evaluation three questions per group on the methodology presented to them. After the completion of each weekly presentation, these questions are used to encourage in-class discussion. Lastly, each group identifies and presents one academic paper related as much as possible to art and design on the research methodology under discussion. The challenge for the lecturer is to prepare relevant questions each week and identify case studies to have ready in case the learners do not progress with the in-class discussion. A phenomenological study of the overall learner experience indicated that the majority of learners enjoy the classes. This is corroborated by anonymous feedback provided by the learners. The lecturer gauges learning through the weekly formative assessment of the questions the learners ask and the examples they present, as well as how these are presented, articulated, and discussed during the class. Lastly, to improve the unit the learners proposed the presentation of their own research proposal each week based on their respective disciplinary interests.