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Performance metrics: Are the risks too high to be creative?

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conference contribution
posted on 2018-06-19, 08:26 authored by John McCardleJohn McCardle, Adam Huskisson, Stephen Perry
As students in Higher Education (HE), many highly successful Design graduates exhibit the traits of being keen independent learners and sometimes even demonstrate a maverick approach to the art. The majority however are conformist. Some of the most communicative of students can be responsible for pedestrian, unsurprising design proposals lacking in daring and insightful application of technology. If students engage fully within a creative learning environment, with aims to develop both personally and professionally, should educators witness more widespread adventurous and experimental work as the norm? This paper explores one of the fundamental reasons offered by students in response to questions about their design outcomes, that of risk. Currently there appears to be a very limited understanding of the factors that constitute risk from the perspective of undergraduate students engaging in design programmes. Through a questionnaire and a series of focus groups with undergraduate students in different year cohorts, the work here identifies several distinct perceptions and motivations that could lead to such behaviour. Overall the study suggests that students are generally acting in a risk-averse manner with it being more acute in their final year of study. Commonly this behaviour was motivated by the aim to achieve the best possible grade through strategically using marking schemes and aligning with tutor advice. Extrinsic motivation dominated many students through the attainment of a desired degree classification. Students further reported feelings of anxiety and insecurity within the assessment process due to a range of external variables.



  • Design

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Engineering and Product Design Education


MCCARDLE, J., HUSKISSON, A. and PERRY, S., 2018. Performance metrics: Are the risks too high to be creative?. Presented at the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2018), London, UK, 6-7 September 2018, pp. 110-115.


© Institution of Engineering Designers and The Design Society


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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Imperial College, London

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