Reflection in design practice-quality assurance of practical training in product design education
Students’ experiences through practical training can be used for curriculum development based on interactive research between education and work practice. To work collaboratively and reflect during the design process is a general competence that is central in a product development team. Studies have shown that such communication can support personal and collective learning processes so that organizations were able to develop in line with the growing need for creativity and innovation. This study relies on students’ reflection notes from practical training as an empirical basis to develop the curriculum of a master study in product design. The methodical approach was archival analysis of reflection notes written by the students during their practical training. The course responsible used this as a follow up to assure students’ learning outcomes. The findings exemplify how complex issues in practical training were categorized in relation to the design education institutions need for quality assurance. Practice places were varied like furniture industry, sports industry, fair trade industry and cultural institutions. The findings were evaluated and discussed in relation to quality criteria in higher education and to knowledge, skills and general competence in reflective practice. The students’ had developed their communication skills in business practice. The conclusion was that the method of archival analysis of student reflections based on quality criteria of higher education can be used as an approach to develop the curriculum in dialogue with a changing and innovative work life.
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