On 18 Aug 2009, at 12:39, Karel van der Waarde wrote:
> I have the impression that graphic design education is aware of the
> situation but misses a clear starting point on which decisions can
> be based:
> - Yes, we know that professional practice encompasses more
> activities than we could possibly teach in four years. How do we
> select the most appropriate ones? - Yes, we know that graphic
> designers individually combine interests, skills and personality.
> How do you educate increasingly large groups of students to develop
> their individual interests?
You raise an important set of questions here that I have been
interested in for some time, at UG and PG level. I'm not going to
attempt to deal with them here, they are too big, and they form part
of an off-line dialogue we are having.
But for the benefit of the list, I want to add to your list of
concerns that are likely to impact on Graphic Design education (and
educators) at present and in the future. These focus on Learning and
There is much opportunity to learn from research that has developed
into University Learning and Teaching over recent decades. From the
experience of working with colleagues developing graphic design
curriculum, in my view it is important to have Learning and Teaching
specialist input to curriculum development, as well as the input from
'typographers, illustrators, web specialists...' etc. As part of the
University sector in the UK, knowledge about Learning and Teaching is
now more readily available to Graphic Design educators — most new
lecturers are required to undertake some kind of professional
University teaching qualification (much to say about this in relation
to this list, but not here).
I also want to suggest a subtle change to your phrasing about 'how do
we select the most appropriate ones?'. Due to the scale and diversity
identified in your research (much of which I welcome), I think the
issue here is more appropriately framed as 'how do we help students
select the most appropriate ones?'. The focus then moves towards
'student learning' rather than 'tutor teaching', and this in part
addresses the second question you raise about scale.
In my own practice as an educator, in attempting to deal with scale I
often convey to students material from research into Learning and
Teaching. For example, from John Biggs book 'Teaching for Quality
Learning at University' (2nd Edition) (2003, p. 80), I cite the
Most people learn...
10% of what they read
20% of what they hear
30% of what they see
50% of what they see and hear
70% of what they talk over with others
80% of what they use and do in real life
95% of what they teach someone else
(Source: attributed to William Glasser; quoted by Association for
Supervisoors and Curriculum Development Guide 1988).
With this I try to encourage students to focus on the effective
learning that happens above what is 50% effective. I can't
substantiate whether this has an impact, but it does help me convey to
students the importance of peer group learning and other sources
beyond the tutor, and it maintains to some extent the ethos of Art and
Design education. In general, I feel that students respond well to a
better understanding of how they learn. In my experience, this
consciousness has been a part of Art and Design education in the past.
I can't recall any of this from my own experience in a former
polytechnic in the 1980s.
There is much to discuss about 'how' we educate graphic designers in a
University context, as well as 'what' they are educated in and for.
And, according to the '95% effectiveness rating' in above table, there
are many good reasons to embrace Learning and Teaching as an
integrated part of our specialist subject knowledge.
Robert Harland Lecturer Loughborough University School of Art
and Design +44 (0)1509 228980 [log in to unmask]