Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine and establish a road map of the integration process of sustainable and experiential learning into the industrial design curriculum. In order to facilitate the sustainable design process while developing the reflective learning to become more environmentally responsible a new approach was initiated to incorporate new sustainable tools into our design process in 2011. An immersive workshop was developed on the basis of the shared philosophies of John Dewey’s experiential education and Biomimicry, and introduced to the senior design studio. The workshop was conducted over a four day period giving the students the opportunity of in-class lecture and out-of-class nature experience. One of the primary goals of this workshop was to allow students to see, hear, smell, feel, touch and connect themselves to Nature before they started a sustainable design project. Based on the triangulated data from the Biomimicry workshop result, the authors identified some unsatisfactory learning outcomes from the workshop. The issue was that the experiential learning from the Biomimicry workshop effect did not have an inclusion of continuity and interaction in the learning process. Taking students back to Nature six weeks later and reminding them of the holistic knowledge and tools for their projects was a challenging but rewarding decision. The second trip was improvised to reinforce the important theories, principles, and strategies that designers could learn from the Biomimicry walking trail. With the second visit to Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, the students were immersed more successfully with Nature and accomplished quality observations which were applied to their creative design development within the studio. This paper addresses a full semester’s progression of designing and executing a studio project which integrated a challenging Biomimicry workshop. The authors reflected problems in the initial workshop model and reinforced the value of experiential education theories for quality design education.

Keywords

sustainable design, Biomimicry, experiential education, reflective thinking with nature

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Walk, Feel, Think, and Make: Creative design learning with nature

The purpose of this study is to examine and establish a road map of the integration process of sustainable and experiential learning into the industrial design curriculum. In order to facilitate the sustainable design process while developing the reflective learning to become more environmentally responsible a new approach was initiated to incorporate new sustainable tools into our design process in 2011. An immersive workshop was developed on the basis of the shared philosophies of John Dewey’s experiential education and Biomimicry, and introduced to the senior design studio. The workshop was conducted over a four day period giving the students the opportunity of in-class lecture and out-of-class nature experience. One of the primary goals of this workshop was to allow students to see, hear, smell, feel, touch and connect themselves to Nature before they started a sustainable design project. Based on the triangulated data from the Biomimicry workshop result, the authors identified some unsatisfactory learning outcomes from the workshop. The issue was that the experiential learning from the Biomimicry workshop effect did not have an inclusion of continuity and interaction in the learning process. Taking students back to Nature six weeks later and reminding them of the holistic knowledge and tools for their projects was a challenging but rewarding decision. The second trip was improvised to reinforce the important theories, principles, and strategies that designers could learn from the Biomimicry walking trail. With the second visit to Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, the students were immersed more successfully with Nature and accomplished quality observations which were applied to their creative design development within the studio. This paper addresses a full semester’s progression of designing and executing a studio project which integrated a challenging Biomimicry workshop. The authors reflected problems in the initial workshop model and reinforced the value of experiential education theories for quality design education.

 

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