You are here:

The "Right Kind of Telling": Knowledge Building in the Academic Design Studio


Educational Technology Research and Development Volume 60, Number 5, ISSN 1042-1629


Studio-based instruction, as traditionally enacted in design disciplines such as architecture, product design, graphic design, and the like, consists of dedicated desk space for each student, extended time blocks allocated to studio classes, and classroom interactions characterized by independent and group work on design problems supplemented by frequent public and individual critiques. Although the surface features and pedagogy of the studio have been well-documented, relatively little attention has been paid to student and teacher participation structures through which design knowledge is co-produced among instructors and students within the studio. The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature of faculty-student interactions through which students learn to think and act as designers. To that end, we have collected and analyzed ethnographic data from five studio classrooms across three design disciplines (architecture, industrial design, and human-computer interaction). Our findings provide insight as to the ways that dialogue--the "right kind of telling"--and particular social practices in the studio support students as they learn to solve ill-structured design problems while being simultaneously inducted into practices that reflect the professional world of their discipline. In each of the studio classrooms, the instructors were able to create an environment where students and faculty practiced reflection-in-action and listening-in as a form of intentional participation, design knowledge was conveyed through modeling and meta-discussions, and focused assignments and in-progress critiques enhanced opportunities for the individual and group processes through which design knowledge was co-constructed in these studio classrooms.


Cennamo, K. & Brandt, C. (2012). The "Right Kind of Telling": Knowledge Building in the Academic Design Studio. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(5), 839-858. Retrieved March 28, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on December 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact