Demonstration and Evaluation in Design: Debating the Use of the Master-Apprentice Model in Virtual Learning Environmental
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Ghassan, Aysar; Diels, Cyriel; Barrett, Alan
Institution: Coventry University, United Kingdom
Section: Learning Spaces
Rooted in face-to-face teaching, the ‘top-down’ master-apprentice model is the dominant pedagogical approach in design education. Through reflecting on the results from two case studies, we discuss possible advantages and limitations of extending the master-apprentice model to asynchronous Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) with regards two overarching principles of design education— demonstration of skills and evaluation of the aesthetics of students’ designs. This debate is important as universities are predicted to increase their use of VLEs. Case study one describes an online system through which practical skills are demonstrated to students via a ‘master-apprentice style’ approach. Learners’ qualitative feedback suggests this method is beneficial. This infers that the master apprentice method may aid tutors to demonstrate practical skills in VLEs. Case study two describes an empirical investigation in which a homogeneous group of design educators (i.e. design experts) evaluate the aesthetic qualities of transport designs. In identifying a low level of agreement, these results query research which argues that experts are capable of delivering objective evaluations in terms of aesthetics. The results of case study two question how successfully the master-apprentice model can be applied to evaluate aesthetics in VLEs as such environments can lack an opportunity for nuances in communication between tutors and students to be propagated. We conclude by arguing the results presented in this paper may be related to inherent differences between demonstration and evaluation in design. We call for research on how best these constructs may be negotiated in the design of future VLEs.