Design Technology – a platform for creative study?

Richard Morris

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    In the beginning of 2005 the University of Brighton, in partnership with the University of Sussex, was deemed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to be a Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) for Creativity. The award provides for opportunities for the universities to extend research into the theory and pedagogy behind creativity, and to develop creativity centres to aid in both this process and in creative practice itself.

    The award was based significantly on the BSc (Hons) course in Product Design at the University of Brighton. The course has been a joint development between the university’s faculties of Arts and Architecture and of Science and Engineering. The intention behind the joint development was to fuse the creative practices of the arts with the problem solving practices of science, producing students who are innovative but practical. Applicants to the course are required therefore to have an ability to be both logical and creative. A-level achievements are used as a significant determinant of this capability as demonstrated through achievement in both an art based subject and a science based subject. It can be argued that the Design Technology A-level, by its very nature, provides the pre-requisite demonstration of both scientific and artistic abilities, and therefore alone provides a suitable platform for assessing an ability to continue the study of design at a higher level. Quantitative assessment suggests that this might in fact not be the case.

    One reason for this may be that the Product Design degree course, like many design related courses in higher education, strives to implement a Problem Based Learning (PBL) teaching methodology. It was noted in a previous analysis that level 1 students had performed better when the teaching methodology had switched from Problem Based Learning to Project Based Learning [PjBL] [Morris, Katz 2004].

    It is conjectured here that under the pressures of the ‘problem’ in PBL, all students have a proclivity for referring to entrenched, past or intuitive knowledge rather than using new learning which they might conceive as more ‘risky’. Those with a Design Technology A-level background might particularly rely on the design methods that have been previously prescribed to them rather than trying new and alternative methods and ideas advocated at degree level. This could explain why students without a Design Technology background may be more likely to experiment and to be more open to new and alternative ideas in design, increasing their cognitive understanding of design at a much earlier stage in their development as designers. It might also explain why all students performed better in the more structured Project Based Learning environment, which also more greatly resembles the learning format adopted at A -level.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2005
    EventESRC Creativity in Education Conference - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 7 Oct 2005 → …


    ConferenceESRC Creativity in Education Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Period7/10/05 → …


    Dive into the research topics of 'Design Technology – a platform for creative study?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this