Liminal Moments: Designing, thinking and learning

Main Article Content

Manuela Taboada Gretchen Coombs


This paper provides a contextual reflection for
understanding best practice teaching to first year design
students. The outcome (job) focussed approach to higher
education has lead to some unanticipated collateral
damage for students, and in the case we discuss, has
altered the students’ expectations of course delivery with
specific implications and challenges for design educators.
This tendency in educational delivery systems is further
compounded by the distinct characteristics of Generation
Y students within a classroom context. It is our belief that
foundational design education must focus more on
process than outcomes, and through this research with
first year design students we analyse and raise questions
relative to the curriculum for a Design and Creative
Thinking course—in which students not only benefit from
learning the theories and processes of design thinking,
conceptualisation and creativity, but also are encouraged
to see it as an essential tool for their education and
development as designers. This study considers the
challenges within a design environment; specifically, we
address the need for process based learning in contrast to
the outcome-focused approach taken by most students.
With this approach, students simultaneously learn to be a
designer and rethink their approach to “doing design”.

Article Details

How to Cite
TABOADA, Manuela; COOMBS, Gretchen. Liminal Moments: Designing, thinking and learning. Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, [S.l.], v. 19, n. 1, jan. 2014. ISSN 1360-1431. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 mar. 2023.
design education, design thinking, creativity, threshold concepts