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ITEM: Towards an Integrated Transformational Experience Model for Design Education.

ITEM: Towards an Integrated Transformational Experience Model for Design Education.

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Individuals' experiences, environment, and education greatly impact their entire being. Similarly, a designer is affected by these elements, which impacts how, what and why they design. In order for design education to generate designers who are more socially aware problem solvers, that education must introduce complex social matters and not just design skills. Traditionally designers learned through apprenticing a master. Most design education has moved away from this traditional model and has begun incorporating a well-rounded program of study, yet there are still more improvements to be made. This research proposes a new Integrated Transformational Experience Model, ITEM, for design education which will be rooted in sustainability, cultural integration, social embeddedness, and discipline collaboration. The designer will be introduced to new ideas and experiences from the immersion of current social issues where they will gain experience creating solutions to global problems enabling them to become catalysts of change. This research is based on interviews with industrial design students to gain insights, benefits and drawbacks of the current model of design education. This research will expand on the current model for design education, combining new ideas that will shed light on the future of design disciplines through the education and motivation of designers. The desired outcome of this study is to incorporate hands on learning through social issues in design classrooms, identify ways to educate future problem solvers, and inspire more research on this issue.