Educating Designers from Generation Y – Challenges and Alternatives
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Petrova, Miroslava
Institution: University of Forestry – Sofia (Bulgaria), Department of Interior and Furniture Design
Section: Using Technical Tools in Design
The paper discusses the learner characteristics and the corresponding teaching strategies that can be applied to the education of Generation Y (Gen Y) – the cohort born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Experienced with digital technology from their early childhood and exposed to tremendous amount of information which can be instantly accessed, Gen Y students are highly demanding of their education. This poses the challenge of updating and adapting the teaching to their changing learning needs and expectations. Based on the findings of a survey on the specific profile of our students concerning their technological background, interests and preferences, we have come to the conclusion that lectures and seminars do not provide the optimal learning environment. We were motivated to propose a series of extracurricular activities built on the teaching material of the disciplines Form-formation and Theory of composition. The paper reports our teaching experience of several systematically selected educational formats brought together under the name “Student scientific-educational forums”. They include research papers, debates, conferences, creative workshops and virtual exhibitions. By introducing these activities we aim to enhance learning in the two disciplines, to engage students actively in the educational process, to enable them to discover by themselves what they need to know and to link the theoretical studies with practical design problems. In conclusion we evaluate the quality and effectiveness of these new teaching strategies. Furthermore we discuss how students’ academic development is affected and how the implementation of the proposed activities results in more successful learning.