Measuring the Transfer of Design Practice from Educational Environments to Applied Environments

PI: Dr. Daniel Schwartz


This proposal outlines two studies that will develop a measure that assesses how well an environment supports design thinking. This research project is the culmination of two years spent investigating the transfer of design practice from academic environments to organizational environments. Transfer happens when an individual learns in one context and applies that knowledge in another context. The more related the contexts, the easier it is to apply knowledge. This is why a measure comparing contexts is crucial. Furthermore, the more an individual reflects on learning, the easier it is to transfer knowledge. The first objective is to assess the extent to which students perform initial transfer—that is, the first time they apply design thinking outside the classroom. This is a critical step in moving from learning to applying design thinking. The second objective is to measure how similar or different organizational environments are to academic environments. If these differences are too great, transfer of design practice is unlikely to happen. This project will utilize the Reflective Design Practice tool to capture student work and the environments in which that work happens.