”I would say that the user is the king”
Indian student designers´ conceptions of a design process and potential implications for schools
Design education and the design process have been focuses for research in recent studies in developing innovative solutions to problems and challenges worldwide as well as in educational contexts where there is a need to develop pedagogical design and innovation processes in educational settings. The current Finnish Core curriculum for basic education 2014 (FNAE 2016) emphasises design education and design process in craft, design and technology learning. To understand in-depth design methods and the meaning of design in a different cultural context, this study was executed at a distinguished design community, the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. The study is part of the FINDIgATE project, which aimed for Finnish and Indian Well-being through Education. Design and craft have a common goal to aspire towards well-being and coping with life. The project created a new research community between Finland and India. Several studies were conducted within the project: Indians studied the Finnish education to develop their own activity and comparative study was also conducted. This study focuses on exploring the conceptions of Indian design students.
The theoretical background of this phenomenological research consists of defining design and design processes, also design education and design as part of a holistic craft process. The data collection method is a thematic interview. The data collection was carried out in three group interviews and as an additional individual interview. The interview material was analysed by data-driven content analysis.
According to the results, Indian student designers (N=14) see design as a multidisciplinary collaborative user service in different areas of life. The design process is structured through the definition of the design task and the problem to be solved, through user research, ideas, prototyping and testing. Documentation is an important part of the whole design process. The different phases of the design process of Indian student designers seem to be applicable to pedagogical design and innovation processes as well as holistic craft processes in the context of education. The user-oriented design process seems a potential approach to Craft, Design and Technology education and cross-curricular design processes across pedagogical contexts.
Keywords: design process, design education, craft design and technology (CDT), user research, documentation, India
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