DS 110: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2021), VIA Design, VIA University in Herning, Denmark. 9th -10th September 2021

Year: 2021
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Evans, Pete (1); Söderlund, Carina (2)
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Iowa State University, United States of America; 2: Mälardalens högskola
Section: Innovation and Creativity in Design and Engineering Education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.90
ISBN: 978-1-912254-14-9


Today, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has seen a technological evolution accelerate at an exponential rate (Schwab, 2016). Due to the development of digital technology, this accelerating trend has been identified around workforce, technology and learning (Richardson, 2012). COVID-19 has exasperated the digitalization in industry, academia and society. In design education, due to the pandemic, design students and teachers are often situated at different locations, at a distance.
 We are now working and studying remotely with a documented detriment to learning. This distance diminishes engagement between peers, instructors and also the important corporeal material in design amongst others. Preparing students to thrive in these distant interactions and then their rapidly advancing professional domains becomes a cornerstone for today’s pedagogical foundations through technological-enabled distant learning. Heidi Hayes Jacobs sees differentiated learning interactions actualized in practice by Rosan Bosch Studio (2018) around metaphors of mountain top, cave, campfire, watering hole and hands-on and movement (Thornby, 2014). These ideas relate to differentiated learning scenarios such as lecture, informal intimate conversations, focus groups, spontaneous meetings, and tacit and embodied interplay. These ideas and metaphors are critical in design education that are at risk of disappearing in our virtual zoom world. Research indicates a need for immersive collaborative learning across educational, design, psychological, and neurological domains to specifically include ideas of inclusion even by way of a literal diversity of thinking that multimodal learning provides.
 Extending this focus in distant learning we believe it is critical to include multimodal embodied options through collaborative virtual environments (CVE). A previous pilot on virtual reality (VR) among design students indicates the potential for divergent thinking and creativity (Lee, Sun, and Yang, 2019). Our aim is to explore co-created learning in immersive VR to study if it supports flexible thinking to move design studio pedagogy forward. Flexible thinking in this case deals with the students’ possibilities to be innovative, creative with divergent thinking.
 This research sets out to answer the question, what are the differences and similarities between the students’ design concepts when co-creating in a multimodal and immersive virtual classroom in VR, compared to previous real classroom experiences.
 The study is conducted in a design class with approximately 30 industrial design students. We will evaluate student project outcomes and surveys in an industrial design course at multiple points, with a design process map over the course to determine any effect on flexible thinking.

Keywords: virtual reality, multimodal, embodied, divergent thinking, creativity


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