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Interior design education aims to provide students with real learning experiences. The authors, hence, combined problem-based learning (PBL) and design thinking to design a seven-week studio project in the Interior design program at a land-grant Midwest university. Thirty-two sophomores were engaged in different stages of the design process for the education wing of Minnesota’s official natural history museum in collaboration with Perkins+ Will, a global architecture and design firm.
Students explored design thinking via interactions with stakeholders and practitioners who participated in the creation of the Museum. This approach allowed students to gain insights about the design challenge plus the pros and cons of their solutions. For seven weeks, students in teams of three immersed themselves in a diverse and real design environment. They learned how to communicate, collaborate, and compromise to accomplish the common goal of finding the most relevant solution for the design problem at hand. The authors collected students’ reflections on their learning experiences at the end of the project. This paper discusses the lessons we learned from this interior design PBL case.
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