The Evolution of the Design Studio: Hybrid Learning Spaces

Hilton, Clive (2020). The Evolution of the Design Studio: Hybrid Learning Spaces. In: Proceedings of the DRS Learn X Design 2019: Insider Knowledge (Börekçi, Naz A G Z; Koçyıldırım, Dalsu Özgen; Korkut, Fatma and Jones, Derek eds.), pp. 281–290.



In the context of undergraduate and postgraduate design courses at Coventry University (CU), this paper discusses an innovative pedagogical delivery initiative that is currently the subject of ongoing development - the Hybrid Learning Space (HLS) project. The HLS delivery paradigm originated in response to two fundamental shifts in the tertiary landscape in recent years: The need to meet the challenges of manifold growth in absolute student numbers; and the growing emphasis on international recruitment and the development of internationalised curricula. Against this backdrop, there is a need to radically rethink traditional and current pedagogical paradigms for design courses. Fundamental questions need to be asked that challenge entrenched notions of what constitutes a learning space, and, specifically, the future role for the traditional design studio in internationalised design course delivery frameworks. The imperative is to design integrated mechanisms of design course delivery and a pedagogic strategy that can meet these challenges without compromising the academic integrity and quality of the student learning experience. Methodologically, the paper discusses initial and on-going case studies to illustrate the HLS model in action. It draws upon active research initiatives, interventions and delivery practices from several institutions in the UK and in China. The objective is to explore the effects of learning space topologies on design student participation and to propose a conceptually alternative notion of the design studio. The paper concludes by summarising the potential benefits of the case study while pointing the way forward to the ongoing evolutionary development of HLS experiment.

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