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Design Diaries

One challenge that design teachers have long struggled with is to get design students to record their design work as it progresses. This can involve keeping track of different design iterations, tests conducted on prototypes, or discussions among teammates. Some teachers assign one team member the role of Scribe or Reporter, who writes down ideas and makes sketches as designing proceeds.

The Learning By Design™ curriculum produced a series of nine 1-page sheets (see below) that students could use to capture key moments in their design work. These include:

  • Problem Understanding - Students write out their understanding of the Criteria & Constrains of the design task, and the learning issues they must face while designing.
  • Messing About Observations - Students record observations from early prototype tests or investigations of existing products, and supports them writing about a product's structure, behavior and mechanisms.
  • My Experiments - Students have a place to record sketches of prototypes, testing procedures and results.
  • Pip-Up Session Notes - Students record ideas from other teams during a "pin-up session" using a structured chart.
  • Testing My Design - Second version of a data sheet for recording ideas and results from tests.
  • Decision Grid - Groups wanting help in deciding the competing strengths and tradeoffs of different design ideas can use this chart to help make a design decision.
  • My Rules of Thumb - LBD has students take experimental results and translate them into suggestions for other designers that link a design variable to a prediction of the impact of varying it on the product's performance.
  • Gallery Walk Notes - This table helps students collect ideas from different team presentations in a single place.
   LBD™ Design Diary (9 pages) Students use these single-page sheets to do some of the LBD™ rituals.

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