Contextual Learning: Communities of Practice and Situational Experience in Design Studios

By Toni Mackinnon.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In design and visual art studios at both undergraduate and post graduate level,
students are encouraged to engage in individual research projects. This paper aims to explore the ways in which design studios can support students in individual research projects through forms of praxis that bring about effective learning communities.
The paper will primarily employ Wenger’s and lave’s paradigm for building a community of practice as its frame of reference but proposes pragmatic approaches to address this within the contemporary design/art studio. The paper is centered around questions such as: How can Wenger and Lave’s situational learning ideas develop art and design teaching to accommodate the changing nature of students and their interests and goals, how can communities of practice both internal and external to the institution be beneficial in achieving educational goals and why should participation in a range of contexts be planned for and accommodated meaningfully in learning design?

Keywords: Community of Practice, Knowledge Sharing, Situated Learning, Learning Design, Learning Community

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.225-232. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 585.072KB).

Toni Mackinnon

Programme Leader Certificate in Art and Design, Department of Design, Unitec New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand

I currently lecture in art and design in the level 400 programme here at unitec where I have been for 3 years. Previously a secondary teacher with a Masters in Art and Design my specialist teaching areas are Graphic Design and contemporary Art Theory. Other conference paper topics have included the role of artist research in studio teaching.

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