Investigating the benefits of a secondary education interaction design thinking course inside and outside the classroom

By Leila Aflatoony, Ron Wakkary and Carman Neustaedter.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

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

In this study we investigated how an interaction design-thinking course benefited secondary school students in grades 9 and 10. This study investigated the benefits for students within the classroom and unlike previous studies, it also articulated the potential for students to utilize their skills to interpret and apply or transfer knowledge in the service of solving issues in everyday life situations or non-design courses. As part of a multiple case study, we developed, implemented, and studied an interaction design course for secondary students. We gathered research data through interviewing the students and teachers after completion of the course, and observing their activities and performances during the course. The findings of this study showed the benefits of the course for students in three main themes: 1) interaction design thinking as open exploration, 2) interaction design thinking as connected activities, and 3) interaction design thinking in real-life challenges. The findings indicate that the course was beneficial for students in transferring their knowledge gained from the educational context to everyday life situations. Such pedagogy helped students to develop their own design-based meta-cognitive strategies that enabled them to solve unknown problems.

Keywords: Design Thinking, Creative Problem Solving, Interaction Design, Design Education, K-12 Pedagogy

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp.1-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.016MB).

Leila Aflatoony

Independent Scholar, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Leila Aflatoony is an interaction design researcher and educator. She graduated with a Ph.D. from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. She has a Master’s degree in Product Service System Design (MSc) from Polytechnic University of Milan, and Visual Communication (MA) from Tehran University of Art. Her research interests include design thinking, design education, creative thinking, and human-computer interaction.

Ron Wakkary

Professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC, Canada

Ron Wakkary is a Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) where he established the Everyday Design Studio, a design research studio that explores interaction design. Wakkary’s research investigates the changing nature of interaction design in response to everyday design practices like home life, DIY, amateur experts, hobbyists, and sustainability.

Carman Neustaedter

Assistant Professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC, Canada

Dr. Carman Neustaedter is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Neustaedter specializes in the areas of human-computer interaction, interaction design, domestic computing, and computer-supported collaboration. He is the director of the Connections Lab, an interdisciplinary research group focused on the design and use of technologies for connecting people through technology.