end of year one phd presentation

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The end of year 1 report for my PhD outlining my literature review and further work


  • 1. Appropriate Teaching Methods For:Effective Sustainable Product Design Education Matthew Watkins Email: M.A.Watkins@lboro.ac.uk

2. Aim

  • To identify the requirements for effective delivery of sustainable product design education.
  • To discover the requirements for facilitating a deep understanding of sustainable product design amongst product and industrial design students.

3. Objectives

  • To investigate how sustainable product design is taught in other universities.
  • To investigate the use of existing educational resources in sustainable product design education.

4. Objectives(continued)

  • To investigate what issues need to be considered in a sustainable design tool for industrial design students
  • To understand the learning preferences of design students.

5. Scope

  • To consider the most effective method for teaching sustainable product design on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK.
  • To facilitate a fundamental understanding of sustainable design in students that can guide their thinking process.

6. Scope(continued)

  • The focus upon British universities will enable the tool to be specifically developed to the culture of the British university setting and allow the research findings to support similar course structures in the UK.

7. Focus of presentation

  • Outline the findings of the literature review
  • Considering the following key areas:
    • Sustainable design in higher education
    • How designers learn and apply knowledge
    • The use of existing resources in design education
    • The impact of collaboration and teamwork in design education
  • Indentify further work required

8. Product & Industrial design

  • No fundamental differences between the terms Product Design and Industrial Design.
  • The definition given by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) will be applied to both in the context of this study.

9. Definition of product & industrial design

  • Industrial design (ID)is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. (IDSA)

10. BA/BSc ?

  • The review of course structures revealed slight differences in course structure between the BA and BSc routes.
  • Typically BSc courses following a more technical route with higher emphasis on the underlying technology, whilst BA routes were biased towards user centred design.

11. University Provision

  • The UCAS website was used to identify universities offering undergraduate courses in product or industrial design.
  • A total of 108 courses were offered for 2009 entry
  • 98 in product design, 8 in industrial design and 2 in industrial product design.

12. Course Content

  • The course details were then examined for references to sustainability or the environment.
  • A total 25 undergraduate courses were offered at 20 institutions.

13. Universities

  • Anglia Ruskin
  • Aston
  • Bangor
  • Bournemouth
  • Brighton
  • Brunel
  • Derby
  • Goldsmiths
  • Hertfordshire
  • Huddersfield
  • Kingston
  • Liverpool John Moores
  • London South Bank
  • Loughborough
  • Northumbria
  • Nottingham
  • Teeside
  • Creative Arts (UCA)
  • West of England (UWE)
  • UWIC Wales Cardiff

14. Course Content

  • 6 of these courses explicitly mentioned sustainable design in the course title.
  • A further 12 postgraduate courses were offered between these 20 universities.
  • 5 of which, specifically included sustainable design in their course titles.

15. Sustainable Design

  • Sustainable Design

Okala (IDSA, 2005) 16. Sustainable Product Design

  • Many of the 20 universities focussed solely or predominantly on the environmental issues.
  • This study will consider, how the additional social and equitable considerations can be incorporated into product design.

17. Sustainable Product Design

  • Considering both user and societal design, through the inclusion of design specialism's such as:
    • Design for the aged
    • Design against crime
    • Inclusive design

18. Designers learning preferences

  • A literature survey was conducted to determine the specific needs of industrial and product designers.
  • Focussing on how such designers think and use knowledge in a general design context.

19. Communication

  • Designers naturally communicate through visual methods.
    • Designers prefer non verbal forms of communication (Cross 2007)
  • The importance of visual stimuli is also important to a designers cognitive process.

20. Visual Thinking

    • Designers are predominately visual thinkers (Skaggs 2002,Sherwin and Evans, 2000 )
    • Visual imagery is important to the thinking process of designers (Glegg 1969, Ferguson 1977)
    • The act of sketching is often fundamental to a designers thinking process (Lawson 2006)

21. Thinking

  • Designers are divergent thinkers (Durling et al., 1996)
  • Designers thinking is directed towards an end product (Lawson 2006)
  • Both reasoning and imagination are important types of thinking to the designer (Lawson 2006)

22. Creativity

  • Creativity is central to a designers thinking (Durling et al., 1996)
  • Designers perceive the need of a problem as fundamental to initiating creativity (Lawson 2006)
  • Importance of an incubation period to clarify ideas (Glegg 1969, Lawson 2006)

23. Acquisition and use of Knowledge

  • Designers work from a reservoir of stored knowledge, that they subconsciously use like a library to solve problems(Laxton 1969, Hertzberger 2001)
  • Designers rely heavily on intuition (Durling 1999)
  • Asserting the importance of the design education informing a consideration of a wide variety of design issues.

24. Integration

  • Designers solve problems by synthesis (Cross 2007)
  • Designers are divergent thinkers (Durling 1996)
  • Designers need to consider an ever increasing complexity of design requirements (Alexander 1964).

25. Integration

  • Designers describe sustainable design as an attribute of good design rather than a separate specialism (Richardson et al., 2005).
  • Sustainable design is the first step to integration.

26. Existing design tools

  • A range of tools that are either currently used in university education were investigatedincluding:
    • tools available in the Sustainable design toolbox
    • tools made available on Delft universities wiki (Delft 2008) for industrial design students.
  • Also tools that are freely or readily accessible available to students were investigated.

27. Ecodesign tools

  • Many of the tools available were specifically ecodesign tools including:
    • Ecodesign web (template)
    • MET Matrix (template)
    • Information Inspiration (website)
    • Ten Golden Rules (checklist)
    • Sima Pro (detailed LCA package)
    • Greenfly (online streamlined LCA package)

28. Sustainable design tools

  • Those tools that could be considered to include environmental, social and ethical issues were:
    • Design abacus (template)
    • Flowmaker (card game/resource)
    • Play rethink (board game)
  • Two of the above resources are game based rather than specific tools.

29. Educational games

  • Literature suggests that educational games are beneficial to learning:
    • highly motivating for the user (Pohl et al., 2008, Ehiyazaryan, 2006)
    • Allow for autonomous learning enabling students to develop their own perspective (Pohl et al., 2008).

30. Educational games

  • Educational games enable difficult abstract concepts to be taught in a way that enables learners to comprehend them easily (Ehiyazaryan, 2006)
  • Educational games also require formal learning to enable students to access, apply and make sense of ga