Sketching Design Thinking: Representations of Design in Education and Practice. Design and Technology Education

Research on design pedagogy has shown that students progress through a variety of barriers on the path to becoming a successful design practitioner, and that frameworks for explicit reflection can be beneficial to the development of design students. Schön uses the concept of reflection-on- action to describe one form of reflection on design practice, with the eventual goal of improving design processes and judgment. In this study, sketching is
used as a form of reflection-on-action in a first semester intensive course in interaction design (IxD). This sketch reflects the student’s current understanding of the “whole
game” or holistic view of design in IxD. Current practitioners in IxD companies were asked to draw the “whole game” sketch as well. Parallels among the sketches
and areas of divergence are discussed. In summary, students shifted from abstract, linear representations of process early in the semester to more concrete, iterative
representations by the end of their first semester. Practitioner sketches were more abstract and linear, but also included representations of business terminology and
design teams. We propose a preliminary model of change in expertise, which documents the shift in a designer’s visual representation of their process as their expertise
increases over time. Implications for changes in design pedagogy and avenues for future research are discussed.

Publication

Gray, C. M. & Siegel, M. A. (2014). Sketching Design Thinking: Representations of Design in Education and Practice. Design and Technology Education, 19(1), 48-61.