Pedagogy + Reflection: A Problem-Based Learning Case in Interior Design

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Abimbola Oluwatoni Asojo
Hoa Vo


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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How to Cite
Asojo, A. O., & Vo, H. (2021). Pedagogy + Reflection: A Problem-Based Learning Case in Interior Design. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 12(2), 1–14.
Author Biographies

Abimbola Oluwatoni Asojo, University of Minnesota

Abimbola Asojo is a Professor in the Interior Design program and the Associate Dean for Research, Creative Scholarship and Engagement at the College of Design, University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on cross-cultural design issues, African architecture, computing and design, architectural lighting design, K-12 design and post-occupancy evaluation.

Hoa Vo, University of Minnesota

Hoa Vo is a Ph.D. candidate in Interior Design at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the notion of creativity, feedback as a tool to foster creativity in design-educational and professional contexts, and human well-being in the built environment.