Examining the development of sketch thinking and behaviour

Lane, D. and Seery, N. (2011) Examining the development of sketch thinking and behaviour. [Conference Proceedings]


Research (Lane et al., 2010b, 2010c), concerning the development of expertise in freehand sketching among students within an Initial Technology Teacher Education (ITTE) programme provides significant indicators that sketching is a teachable skill. Analysing and reporting on any development in sketching expertise can sometimes be difficult and become subject to debate, particularly where casual observations and independent opinions are solely relied upon (Verstijnen, 1998). This paper reports on the application of a visual and verbal protocol analysis tool (Middleton, 2008) to measure pre-instruction sketching behaviour of third year undergraduate students. Forty one students volunteered to take part in visual and verbal protocol analysis which was carried out simultaneous to a Design and Communication Graphics module. A core element of this module was the development of sketching expertise and the ability to engage in creative discovery within a specially designed model (Lane et al., 2010b, p.88). Considering the richness of the data gathered using visual and verbal protocol analysis, it was deemed appropriate to solely analyse and report on students who perceived their sketching ability as advanced beginner (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1986). It was found that the advanced beginner students did not engage in any significant level of exploration during a prescribed sketching based design task. This could be related to their perceived poor level of sketching ability and their inability to graphically communicate. The research argument presented in this paper is based on the application of Middleton's (2008) visual and verbal protocol analysis model which attempts to establish the attributes that students need to develop in order to reach a high level of sketching expertise. The findings have potential to inform the future direction of pedagogical practices that focus on freehand sketching within graphical education. © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education.

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