Exploring human behaviour in design education: Supporting sustainable decision-making with a tabletop activity

DS 87-8 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 8: Human Behaviour in Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Willis, Amanda; Wise, Alyssa; Antle, Alissa
Series: ICED
Institution: Simon Fraser University, Canada
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Page(s): 369-378
ISBN: 978-1-904670-96-4
ISSN: 2220-4342

Abstract

This paper explores the behaviour of learners engaging with a sustainable tabletop activity. Fitting with the theme of Resource-Sensitive Design, this paper takes the viewpoint that the early educational experiences of future designers can shape how they conceive the complex issues of resource scarcity, and therefore design education using technology can support learning and behaviours for sustainable decisions. Videos of twenty pairs of students playing the land planning game “[Blinded]” were qualitatively analyzed using a speech-act theory framework to identify emergent themes on collaboration and decision-making. The findings showed that learners used tools with speech acts in many ways that enhanced collaborative behaviours: 1. advocating for issues using evidence, and 2. sharing values to convince a partner and 3. engaging a non-attentive partner. The implications for design include supporting: informed decision-making, highly visible information, buy-in processes, and encouraging learners to express their values. These findings provide new avenues for exploring spaces for negotiation about the environment and decision-making about difficult trade-offs.

Keywords: Sustainability, Human behaviour in design, Social responsibility, Design education

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