Do we have an alternative methodology for teaching design?

2007-06-12T08:30:20Z (GMT) by David Mioduser Osnat Dagan
The study reported here is a research project aimed to examine the relationship between alternative approaches towards design teaching (structural or functional), and the students’ mental modelling of the design process and the quality of their design process. The structural approach emphasizes the need for an ordered learning of the stages of the design process, while the functional approach emphasizes the teaching and study of design functions (rather than stages). 80 seventh graders, divided in two groups, were taught a unit on technological problem solving by either approach for fourteen classes (21 hours). Before, during and after the design process of a technological solution the students had to generate representations of this process and make portfolios representing their problem solving process. The results were analysed looking for: (a) The differences between the groups in the mental models which were constructed during the instruction process. (b) The differences between the groups in the quality of the process and the design functions implemented. Significant differences between the groups observed for many of the variables studied indicate that the functional approach represents a promising methodology for teaching design.