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11.02.2020

The influence of distributed collaboration in design processes: an analysis of design activity on information, problem, and solution

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Technology and Design Education
Autoren:
Zhiyuan Yang, Wei Xiang, Weitao You, Lingyun Sun
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Abstract

Design education and practices increasingly involve distributed collaboration. However, its effects on students’ design processes, and on the nature of collaboration instruction, remain unclear. The aim of this study was to extend the present understanding of distributed collaborative design by comparing the design activities regarding information–problem–solution (IPS) in two types of environment: distributed and co-located. We conducted a conceptual design experiment and analysed the different kinds of design activity by encoding the design process using an IPS coding approach. We also measured students’ subjective experiences of their design-related activities using a questionnaire. After examining the distribution, content, transition, and cluster of IPS activities, the comprehensive analysis results showed that the distributed collaborative environment produced negligible effects on the production and interaction of IPS design activities, but affected students’ exploration of design content of IPS activities. By contrast, the questionnaire results indicated that distributed collaboration prompted students to concentrate better, which positively impacted their experiences. This work offers useful insights into distributed collaboration in design education.

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