Managing uncertainty and promoting ownership over learning in D&T students using an interactive learning environment

Ester Ehiyazaryan
2008, Vol. 13, No. 2,


This paper reports on a research study exploring the value
of interactive media to enhancing creativity in Design and
Technology (D&T) students. The literature review
contextualises the issues of self-management and risktaking
as phenomena which need to be managed and
supported to ensure successful learning in D&T students.
These phenomena are discussed from the point of view of
both approaches to designing interactive media for
learning and in the context of D&T education.
An action research approach was adopted to exploring the
value of interactive media in this respect. The findings of a
preliminary study based on focus group interviews carried
out with D&T A Level students are discussed, setting out a
series of learning needs. These learning needs were
derived from students' descriptions of the issues
influencing their engagement with creative work. The
identified students' learning needs were used to inform
the design of an interactive learning environment,
including the focus of its content on ecodesign issues, its
social constructivist pedagogy and the structure of the
learning interactions.
This paper reports on the findings of the evaluation of the
interactive learning environment which made implications
for the value of interactive media to managing uncertainty
and risk-taking in students. The new research findings
highlighted the value of interactive media to encouraging
students to engage in exploring a design context in an
environment free of authoritarian control. The
phenomenon of shared ownership over the learning
problem emerged as a positive aspect of peer-to-peer
collaboration. Finally, the role of the tutor as a facilitator of
learning providing scaffolded support to the learning
interactions was emphasised.


Managing uncertainty ; Ownership ; Creativity ; Collaborative work ; Interactive media ; Design & technology

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