Felicities and Fallacies of Teaching Design Theory: A Comparative Study

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Martina Maria Keitsch (1), Viktor Hjort Af Ornas (2)
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway; 2: Lund University, Sweden
Section: Design Methods - Theory and Methodology
Page(s): 097-102
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


The scope of design has changed significantly in the last decades - from a focus on material aspects to the intangible, from functionality to pleasure, and from making products to providing services and experiences. Even if being aware of changes, design curricula rarely reflect theoretical challenges and opportunities connected with these issues. Design educators do not only struggle with the complexity and the metafix feature of their discipline but also with the fact that its basic conjectures are seldom made explicit, which in turn impedes possibilities for teaching design theory to students. The paper discusses the question of how to facilitate the understanding of design theory introductions by comparing two curricula. The objective of these is to provide design students with the ability to understand and implement design theory in their practice. Following the introduction, which positions the paper in a specific learning context, the second section describes course requirements, tools and methods applied in two teaching approaches. Based on a comparison of the two courses the third section points out barriers and opportunities, such as a contextualization of theory teaching within more applied activities in design education, and discusses ways of enabling different types of learning related to design theory.

Keywords: Design theory in education, values of design methods, methods for teaching, students’ maturity and progress, learning methodologies at different stages of design curricula


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