Levels of expertise in design education

Kees Dorst, Isabelle Reymen

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    Design ability and differences between novice and expert designers have been quite extensively studied in the field of design methodology. For example, design expertise got much attention in the latest Design Thinking Research Symposium held in Australia. Little attention, however, is paid to the development from novice into expert. At this moment, there is no theoretical basis for explaining and understanding the kinds of transformations the design student has to go through, and there is no theoretical basis for identifying the degree of design expertise of a designer at a certain moment. Also, little is known about how to stimulate design expertise development. We propose to study the development of expertise in designing. This paper introduces a model of the development of design expertise, based on the general skill acquisition model of Dreyfus. Characteristics and limitations of the general model relevant for its application to the field of design are discussed. We will try to match the levels of expertise as they are identified in the model with some empirical data, consisting of a set of self-evaluations of a design student. We could find some empirical basis for the model, but much more detailed empirical investigations are needed to reflect on the basic assumptions of the model. We therefore introduce a wider research programme that eventually should result in a stable description of levels of design expertise, a description of the transitions to higher levels of design expertise, and in ways to support design expertise development.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd International Engineering and Product Design Education Conference, 2-3 September 2004, Delft
    EditorsP. Lloyd, N. Roozenburg, C. McMahon, L. Brodhurst
    Place of PublicationDelft
    PublisherDelft University of Technology
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)90-5155-020-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2004
    Event2nd International Engineering and Product Design Education Conference, IEPDE 2004 - University of Delft, Delft
    Duration: 2 Sep 20043 Sep 2004
    Conference number: 2


    Conference2nd International Engineering and Product Design Education Conference, IEPDE 2004
    Abbreviated titleIEPDE


    • IR-58083
    • METIS-221162

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