Implications for Design Education from an Experimental Study of Collective Learning for Multidisciplinary Design

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This paper presents the hypothesis that learning occurs during a design activity carried out within a multidisciplinary team more effectively than in a design activity carried out by a mono-disciplinary team. The “Learning in Design” framework is demonstrated within the existing literature [1], and extended through a model of “Collective Learning in Design” [2]. Indications are that “Collective learning” is more effective compared to Individual Learning due to specific learning mechanisms inherent in Collective Learning [3]. An experimental analysis of “multidisciplinary team design” composed of an industrial designer and a mechanical engineer was conducted using protocol analysis [4]. The research focuses on this form of team typology due to the increase in industry demands for improved innovation and more rapid product design cycle times [5,6]. This phenomenon comes from the traditional link between these two disciplines and the trend for industrial design organisations to incorporate greater technological functions. In the first step the authors discuss the distinctive elements of the two professional roles, their academic educations, typical domain knowledge, product development methods, areas of expertise within the design process, as well as thinking styles [5, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Then, the authors show the characteristic elements of Collective Learning, and present those linked with the professional role of team members [2,3]. The authors argue that these elements within the Collective Learning model may have a strong influence on the future design education strategies for designers and engineers.
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Carulli, Marina
Reidsema, Carl
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UNSW Faculty
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