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Abstract

This paper discusses a case study which explores the provision of post-lecture Computer Aided Design (CAD) screencasts, for supporting classroom teaching, for first year students on the BA Honours in Interior Design & Furniture at the Dublin Institute of Technology. When students choose to study interior design they have a perception that the course will be primarily creative and artistic in nature. Art and design students tend to lean towards divergent thinking tasks and have a propensity of not being aware of new learning challenges such as technical drawing, model making, construction studies and AutoCAD, which all require convergent thinking skills. The high workload in first year and the requirement for students to be self-directed in their learning, adds to their challenges. The screencast tutorials aimed to help students to overcome these challenges when learning AutoCAD and facilitate convergent thinking skills. Seventeen students took part in the applied research project, nine first years and eight second years completed a questionnaire, with four of the first years and two second years, from the cohorts, also participated in focus group interviews. The focus of the data collection was on the student learning experience in first year, design thinking styles, and multimedia learning – with specific attention given to the AutoCAD screencasts, aligned with Mayer‟s cognitive learning theory of multimedia learning. 1 Findings suggest that the screencast tutorials do help to reduce cognitive load and aid self-directed learning with these students, mainly because they can be used as a revision tool when required by students, ahead of module assignments. Findings showed that students do find technical tasks more challenging in first year, including AutoCAD. Managing workload and becoming a self-directed learner were also difficult for first year students. The two cohorts were compared and findings showed that second year students had developed a more convergent thinking style, with a realization of the need for designers to be both divergent and convergent thinkers in equal measures. While there are limitations to the findings, due to the small scale nature of the study, they recommend that the screencasts are a benefit to students as a revision aid, and to teachers as an alternative or complement to classroom teaching, at third level.

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