Design Thinking in EFL Context: Studying the Potential for Language Teaching and Learning

By Debopriyo Roy and John Brine.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Design thinking and incorporating design curricula in the mainstream language teaching in an EFL context is probably a new pedagogical approach, as the literature indicates. This article undertakes a case study analysis with computer science majors in Japan, suggesting that web design analysis situates language acquisition in the target language through content-based learning and higher order thinking. This design-based language learning approach has the potential to promote grammatical understanding through increased writing practice, systematic thinking, schematization, presentation and structured content authoring. As part of the analysis reported in this article, readers authored open-ended responses to a variety of design and inference-based queries, based on their analysis of a website every week (for 6 weeks). Results provide enough indication to suggest that readers largely understood most of the questions related to interface design, navigation design, information design, audience analysis, product goals, besides other design-based queries, but lacked a definite structure and pattern for analysis and thinking, as is often seen in heuristic evaluations. Data suggested that use of structured design rubrics, examples, regular feedback, and practice with web design analysis might pave the way for more systematic and higher-order thinking in the long run. Structured thinking in the process, will lead to original text and language production in the target language.

Keywords: Design, Language, Content, Web Analysis, Higher Order Thinking

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.1-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.641MB).

Dr. Debopriyo Roy

Associate Professor, Center for Language Research, University of Aizu, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan

Debopriyo Roy is an Senior Associate Professor of English, specializing in Tech- nical Communication and Usability at University of Aizu, Japan. He is the director of the Technical Communication laboratory. He holds MA degrees in Economics and Communication and a PhD in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY. He specializes in information design, usability studies, technical writing, and web-based training. His research focuses on designing instructional graphics to support readers’ spatial cognition during intricate procedural and problem-solving activities. He has published widely in international journals and refereed conference proceedings. He is the current chair of the IEEE Japan Chapter on Professional Communication, and ACM Chapter on Technical Communication and eLearning, and is a member of IEEE PCS.

John Brine

Professor, Center for Language Research, University of Aizu, Fukushima, Japan

John Brine (PhD OISE/Toronto) is a Professor in the Center for Language Research at the University of Aizu, Japan. He held a doctoral scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), following which he was a Japan Foundation visiting scholar at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and a SSHRC post-doctoral fellow. His fellowship continued at the University of Waterloo, Canada where he taught courses in the Centre for Society, Technology, and Values. At the University of Waikato, he co-founded the Department of General and Applied Linguistics, and established the first computer-assisted language learning (CALL) courses in New Zealand. His current research interests include learning management systems, and the side-effects of information media. The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science has supported his eLearning research collaboration in Vietnam. He is currently a Research Associate in the Digital Library Laboratory at the University of Waikato.