Digital transformation of pedagogy in design education in the virtual learning environment

Elgie, ChristinaStadio



Design Education Research


  • design education, digital transformation, virtual learning environment


The urgent need for pedagogical change, made possible by Digital Transformation (DT), is indisputable in design education (DE). This study considers the relationship between the evolution of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) and the need for modernised pedagogy suitable for learning DE online, particularly by African students. The focus of the investigation is on the methods used in delivering DE curricula in relation to these technological platforms. This is carried out using a qualitative research approach with a phenomenological analysis framework. A conceptual model is constructed to explain the phenomena of interest. The research process reflects a constructivist epistemological paradigm based on the direct experiences and perspectives of the participants. This conveys the insights, views, and perceptions of DE faculty regarding pedagogical practices in VLE. The data collection instrument was derived from the conceptual framework and consisted of a cross-sectional survey. Research in VLE has recently broadened due to the socially crippling pandemic COVID-19, which has forced educators across the globe to adjust their methods of curriculum delivery rapidly by venturing into VLE (International Labour Organisation, 2020). This has highlighted the need for greater insights in utilising three-dimensional (3D) platforms in DE. Knowledge creation and imagination have been presented in the past predominantly in two dimensions but new multimedia mediums for design and concept development allow an abstract interpretation of design themes and events evolving into a 3D VLE. Aspects of the pedagogical system to be investigated are DT of pedagogy in teaching methods, tools, digital platforms, modern IT, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Innovative methods of learning design and delivery are not yet fully developed and further development of a strong conceptual framework is an immediate priority for high-quality DE. Ongoing development of a model for delivering methods of teaching in VLE are likely to become a major research topic for education providers as it will help them to attract students and to remain relevant in the future.

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