The development, implementation and evaluation of an alternative learning and teaching approach for digital media design education: the POOL Model framework

Fleischmann, Katja (2012) The development, implementation and evaluation of an alternative learning and teaching approach for digital media design education: the POOL Model framework. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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The profession of the graphic designer has changed profoundly since the emergence of digital media and in particular the Internet. New roles, such as that of the digital media designer, have emerged. The design industry has changed and is often structured around a multidisciplinary collaborative model, necessary to facilitate the production of complex interactive multimedia projects. While this transformation has been widely acknowledged, it is not yet commonly reflected in undergraduate design education, with many programs continuing to educate the designer as an individual creator. At the same time reports continue to suggest that digital media design graduates are not sufficiently prepared to enter the world of work. Professional design bodies and design practitioners are increasingly alarmed by the gap between what is taught in design education programs and what is practiced, suggesting a change in design education is not only required but necessary.

This thesis details the rationale for, and the development, implementation and evaluation of, an alternative learning and teaching approach to digital media design education. A pragmatic research paradigm and methodology was chosen, enabling the researcher to select methods that suit the real world practice nature of the situation. Using a mixed methods approach, the perspectives of three stakeholder groups (students, educators and industry/community) were obtained via questionnaires, individual and focus group interviews. The triangulation of data, gathered through different methods and from different sources, enabled comparisons to determine if findings were congruent and allowed a deeper understanding of the researched phenomena.

The first phase of this research focused on an investigation of the Australian context. Findings, obtained from exploring the digital media design industry and higher education art and design schools in Australia, in conjunction with findings from extant research informed the development of an alternative learning and teaching approach—the POOL Model framework. While a broad underpinning strategy of the framework is to reflect industry practice through implementing workplace realities such as multidisciplinary teamwork with disciplinary constellations driven by the nature of the tasks, an equally important core strategy is to engage students with industry and community and make such engagement an integrated part of the undergraduate design curriculum. The POOL Model framework was implemented in three digital media design subjects in the Bachelor of New Media Arts at James Cook University, Australia, with each subject being trialled twice.

Reflections and feedback presented from all key stakeholders involved reveal the fact that the POOL Model framework provides students with a range of beneficial outcomes that could not be achieved when working individually or as part of a single discipline team. Engaging industry and community in various roles helped students to develop a more realistic understanding of workplace realities. While a small number of students identified some challenges when working with disciplines beyond the creative arts and when engaging with stakeholders outside the classroom, the overarching benefits were significant and empowering for all involved, proposing not only the viability of the framework but also the potential for wider application across the undergraduate design curriculum.

Item ID: 30044
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: undergraduate design curriculum; multidisciplinary approach; POOL model framework; digital media design; alternate learning approach
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2013 01:24
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190205 Interactive Media @ 50%
13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development @ 100%
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