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Reflections on a Project Based Approach to Work Related Learning in Spatial Design

Spruce, Jonathan (2021) Reflections on a Project Based Approach to Work Related Learning in Spatial Design. Design Principles and Practices, International Journal of Design Education, 15 (1). ISSN 2325-128X


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This article reports on the delivery of work-related learning projects undertaken by spatial design students within the second year of undergraduate study in the UK. The projects aimed to develop students’ ability to transfer core design skills taught in their studio classes into diverse real-world scenarios, better preparing them for entry into the design profession by reflecting the variety of ways in which design is being called upon and applied within contemporary creative practice. The article contextualizes this approach through a discussion of evolving practices within design, such as the increasing use of collaboration and the blurring of discipline distinctions, in contrast to the more discipline-bound contexts of UK design education. Following the projects’ delivery, a detailed analysis of students’ reflective journals revealed aspects of common learning, including the ability to deal with ambiguity, the transfer leap of design skills across contexts, and recognition of the needs of others within the design process. The study contributes to new understandings of the relationships between pedagogical practices in design and work-related learning experiences.

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