Implementing an exemplar-based approach in an interaction design subject: enhancing students’ awareness of the need to be creative

  • Graham D. HendryEmail author
  • Martin Tomitsch


In higher education effective teaching includes making learning goals and standards clear to students. In architecture and design education in particular, goals and standards around assessment are often not well articulated. There is good evidence that when teachers engage students before an assessment in marking exemplars, and explain why the exemplars received the grades they did, students’ performance in their written assessment is consequently enhanced. However some teachers are concerned that exemplars may discourage students from being creative; this concern is particularly important in design education. In this small-scale mixed methods study we explore interaction design students’ perceptions of the effect of an exemplar-based teaching approach on their work in a design task. Our quantitative and qualitative results show that students developed their understanding of task criteria and standards; far from discouraging their creativity, most students perceived that their experience of the approach enhanced their awareness of the need to produce an original design. The exemplar-based approach used in this study complements the studio-based teaching approach in design education, and helps to make clear the design goals and standards that teachers expect their students to strive for.


Assessment Exemplars Criteria Standards Creativity Interaction design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Teaching and LearningUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Architecture, Design and PlanningUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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