Call: LearnXDesign 2017: Beyond the Allure of the Digital – Research in the learning and teaching of design

Call for Papers

LearnXDesign 2017: Beyond the Allure of the Digital – Research in the learning and teaching of design
27-30 June 2017
London, at Ravensbourne on the Greenwich Peninsula

Deadline: 6th February 2017

This conference will bring together researchers and practitioners with an international reach and from a wide variety of education design settings with the intention of connecting emergent models and ideas around the digital, with the scholarship of teaching and learning. We also look to issues beyond the attraction of the digital in learning: other ways of acting, knowing and becoming in design – in the full range of educational settings from kindergarten to PhD. Student’s’ learning approaches demand creative solutions to a wide range of complex themes and contexts. We welcome debates on the scope of learner literacies and studies that investigate how formal and informal learning can be synergized. Dialogues that address new cultures of learning, issues of learner identities, tutor roles, space and their implications in the design of learning environments are also encouraged. In this context the digital imbues all such practices.

This is a call for papers and we hope you will make a date in your diary to contribute to the conference. Places will be limited and an international committee will review the submitted papers. Opportunities to publish with a range of international journals will be available for successful research articles following the conference.

Themes include but are not excluded to:

  • Research in design education
  • Hybrid models: digital/analogue
  • Wearables and its pedagogy
  • Remote collaboration including international
  • Technology impact on design
  • E-learning and design
  • Learning through digital
  • Inter/ transdisciplinarity in learning and teaching
  • Learning in design practice
  • Teaching in design practice
  • Virtual reality (VR/AR)
  • Considering the local, international, and the global contexts of design education


In 2007 Laurillard wrote: ‘Imaginative use of digital technologies could be transformational for teaching and learning, taking us well beyond the incremental value of more accessible lecture presentations. The problem is that transformation is more about the human and organisational aspects of teaching and learning than it is about the use of technology. We have the ambition. We have the technology. What is missing is what connects the two’ (Laurillard, 2007, pxvii). Almost ten years later how much have we embraced this rally call to move beyond the allure of the digital, to fully occupying its potential? Apart from ‘flipped classrooms’ and MOOC modalities, how successful have we been in bridging the ambition/technology gap?

Issues to explore may include online, distance and blended learning in design, from tutor, student and technological perspectives. How do students select the best digital tools from those available? What impact does the digital have on learning in design at different educational levels? Are we seduced by the digital? How do we reconcile the hand made with the digital in learning for an unknown future? Is there a digital way of knowing or digital literacy which facilitates learning in design subjects? We have lived with ‘new technologies’ for over 30 years, what have we learned about learning during this time? What should we be concerned about? What are the problems of learning in a post digital age?


What kind of approaches might be used to research the digital and non-digital aspects of learning and teaching in design? What are the opportunities and pitfalls associated with particular research approaches?  How might we benefit from educational theories and what can we contribute from our disciplinary perspectives to wider debates in learning and teaching? How do educational theories play out in studio-based learning in practice?


What kinds of practices are we engaged in when students learn design subjects? Can we say that we fully understand the ways we teach and the impact these have on our students’ sense of self? Can we critically evaluate our pedagogic practices and invent better ways to help students to become successful designers? What kinds of emotional, affectual and identity work is being undertaken in the learning environment and how important is this? Have pedagogies changed over time and if so why? Are we in danger of losing important aspects of our signature pedagogies? What are the implications for changing job roles on knowledge and its associated epistemologies within the university and school? How should we manage interdisciplinarity in the curriculum? What is the best way to prepare young people for working in a design industry?


The ‘third space’ has been used to describe the emergence of roles that exist in non-traditional spaces in the university (Whitchurch 2013). These include professionals working on projects inside and outside the university, on outreach and widening participation, and on study support. There are many new roles which transcend the traditional academic roles of teaching and research. How do these roles support students learning in design? What are the issues encountered by those operating across boundaries and in the ‘third space’? How do our technical support teams contribute to student learning and could technicians be described as operating in the ‘third space’?


  • Full academic papers
  • Workshops
  • Symposia (colleagues are invited to suggest a symposium theme – with at least 4 papers to be presented)
  • Poster presentations


Academic papers:
Full papers submitted by 6th February 2017 (3000 – 4500 words)
Notification of success/revisions by mid-March 2017
Finished papers by 8th May 2017

Proposals by 1st March 2017

Poster presentations:
Proposals by 28th February 2017

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