Design sprints and substance: Assessing the spectrum of design education opportunities for non-designers Open Access Deposited
Design education opportunities for non-designers are abundant and growing, many offered as rapid sprints through executive education style workshops or online courses. While these quick immersions may serve to infuse design thinking into the work processes of other disciplines, there is a risk of oversimplification. How can courses impart an appropriate sense of design without minimizing its complexity? What are the essential components of design, and optimal timing and formats needed for meaningful delivery? On the other hand, how can we educate those who seek a robust design complement to their existing professions, and those seeking a full transition of their careers into design practice? This study looks at the inception and early iterations of a one-year degree program providing an in-depth education to non-designers seeking a complementary education to other credentials or a full conversion to design through modular degree options. The first years of the program suggest several findings. For example, interdisciplinary cohorts introduce a mix of rational and intuitive approaches. Students need mentorship into design processes and practices, such as subjectivity in assessments and feedback through critique. Educators are challenged to acknowledge the past education and professional backgrounds of students, capitalizing on their unique strengths rather than homogenizing all students into a singular version of design. Students need tools to assess their professional identity during their transition to design. This work in progress will examine the spectrum of design education opportunities for non-designers, including key factors differentiating a degree program from the proliferation of short course exposures.
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