The physical environment of education is not contained within the classroom but extends to the library and archival resource centres in higher education institutes of design. The institutional resource centre (RC) includes textual and material repository sections which support institutional objectives by creating space and opportunity for interface between the learner and theoretical–practical aspects of the curriculum. This purpose of this paper is to highlight the role of the RC where the viewing of exhibits enhances the pedagogy of design education.
This paper uses the participant observation method to construct a case study of the experiential learning process in an institutional setting. It analyses how students make use of specialized design-related resources in libraries and adapt their approach to learn with, from and about objects as cultural artefacts.
The institutional resource centre provides opportunities for haptic experiences in design education that may be unavailable within the classroom. Design students make their own connections between the objects and the embedded lifeworld of the creator-artisan to create personalized meaning. The resultant combination of cognition and emotional responses to the exhibits stimulates diverse learning trajectories.
The collections of displayed design objects in the institutional RC enable students to appreciate cultural history by developing the understanding of fashion, textile and handcrafting traditions in India, thus stimulating cognitive and sensory learning. This is a manifestation of constructivism with the potential for diverse learning trajectories for design students. Thus it acts as an adjunct to classroom teaching-learning by facilitating a multi-faceted and holistic learning experience driven by a spirit of enquiry that supplements and supports pedagogic practices, enabling and encouraging self-learning.
The author is indebted to Dr Sanjeev Kumar and Dr Nandini Dutta for their insights into the establishment and functioning of the NRC of NIFT.
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