Changing Design Education for the 21st Century
By Michael Meyer and Don Norman
This is a recent thought provoking paper that comes from Michael Meyer and "Father of User Experience" himself - Don Norman.
They have written a guide for changing how designers are educated. Meyer and Norman are working with a group of senior designers at IBM Design, who come from a mixture of disciplines, different regions of the world, practitioners, and academics with the intend to implement the strategy outlines in the paper.
As mentioned by Norman, this group of talented designers will help them create a body of approximately 100 people who will discuss and plan a platform for curricula. This is the right time to keep a watch on the update of the topic.
Abstract from the paper:
Designers are entrusted with increasingly complex and impactful challenges. However, the current system of design education does not always prepare students for these challenges.
Designers are moving into new areas, many of which require management, social, technological, and political skills never before thought of as the responsibility of design. Not only has technology increased and changed dramatically in recent decades, but society has become more and more concerned with weighty global issues, such as hunger, health, education.
Design skills for developing creative solutions to complex problems are becoming more and more essential. Businesses are starting to recognise that designers bring something special to the work—a rational belief based upon numerous studies that link business success to a design-driven approach. These are all powerful opportunities, yet we are not always training our students appropriately.
When we examine what and how our system teaches young designers, we discover that the most valuable elements of the designer’s perspective and process are seldom taught. Instead, some designers grow beyond their education through their experience working in industry, essentially learning by accident. Many design programs still maintain an insular perspective and an inefficient mechanism of tacit knowledge transfer.
So, what are we to do? Other learned professions such as medicine, law, and business provide excellent advice and guidance embedded within their own histories of professionalisation. In this article, we borrow from their experiences to recommend a course of action for design. It will not be easy: it will require a study group to make recommendations for a roster of design and educational practices that schools can use to build a curriculum that matches their goals and abilities.
And then it will require a conscious effort to bootstrap the design profession toward both a robust practitioner community and an effective professoriate, capable together of fully realising the value of design in the 21st century. In this article, we lay out that path.
For further reading. You can find the uncorrected copy below: Meyer, M., & Norman, D. (2020, March). Changing design education for the 21st century. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 6(March), 13-39. doi:10.1016