A Study of Self-Regulated Learning in Landscape Architecture Design Studios

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Virginia Tech


Design is a multidimensional activity involving a variety of skills and thought processes, including analytic reasoning, intuition, and creative expression. Learning how to design can be a frustrating and confusing process that some students find difficult to understand. Professors employ a range of strategies when teaching design. These strategies are often based on how their professors taught them with little or no theoretical basis in how students learn. For students, the failure to grasp the process of designing can challenge their willingness to stay motivated and actively engaged in the studio project. The result is less than optimal learning and students that do not achieve their full potential. One important factor that influences design learning is the process of self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning (SRL) refers to a student's self-generated thoughts, strategies, and goal-directed behaviors. This study examined SRL in landscape architecture design studios in order to find out how students self-regulate their learning and performance on studio projects. Interviews with landscape architecture students were used to answer the research questions. Study findings suggest that landscape architecture students self-regulate their learning on studio projects through a process of engaging in design, then using SRL to address issues that arise during design, then generating more design issues that require additional SRL, and so on. The findings indicate that a student's ability to engage in SRL is based on their understanding of design as a complex set of behaviors and activities. Since students in each year have a different understanding of what designing entails, they use and engage in SRL differently. The findings suggest that high achievement in a design studio is a result of advanced knowledge that comes from the freedom to pursue additional issues beyond the basic requirements of the project. The freedom comes when a student attains the expertise to shift cognitive resources away from learning how to design and redirects them towards risk-taking, personal interests, and learning new information. The study sheds light on how students learn, engage, and self-regulate their learning in design studios and provides design educators with a basis for effective design teaching strategies.



teaching, learning, Architecture, studio, Design education, Design, self-directed learning