Wheel of design – reflective alignment of design skills with aspirations

DS 76: Proceedings of E&PDE 2013, the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, Dublin, Ireland, 05-06.09.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Bull, Karen Lisa; Barrett, Alan; Osmond, Jane
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Coventry University, United Kingdom
Section: Reflection
Page(s): 766-771
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


The increased focus on modularisation within the western Higher Education curriculum is criticised by some as leading to a fragmentation of the learning process. This fragmentation can lead to difficulties in ensuring that students become reflective practitioners, as seeing the ‘whole picture’ - or the joins and interdependencies between modules - can be difficult, particularly for L1 students. In turn, such a lack of reflection can lead to students failing to develop into holistic and critically reflective professionals upon entry to their professional community of practice.
This paper outlines the results of a study into the use of a newly developed Wheel of Design (WoD) aimed at addressing Industrial Design Students’ need to be reflective practitioners in the midst of the HE modular curriculum at Coventry University. The paper concludes that the WoD process does have potential in addressing the modularisation of the HE curriculum, in that it gives students the chance to reflectively develop a holistic view of their learning process and also link this to their career aspirations. Meanwhile, for tutors, the WoD tool gives the opportunity to draw out insights about students’ personal development and professional goals that otherwise might have been overlooked and tailor the curriculum accordingly. Overall, the WoD has the potential to align student creativity with reflective practice and thus successfully equip them for their professional community of practice.

Keywords: Industrial design, threshold concepts, transformative learning, reflection.


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