Social learning in Visual Communication Design

Rosochacki S. ; Costandius E. (2011)


Social learning was incorporated into the Visual Communication Design curriculum in a project called Citizenship. The purpose of the project was to address social issues that stem from the colonial and apartheid past in South Africa. Experience cannot be separated from our learning; what happened in the past still has an effect on many facets of the social psyche, like self-esteem, for instance. Our collective history therefore affects individual learning. Emotions and learning are closely related. In the project mental and bodily learning were addressed by means of theoretical discussions, community interactions and the utilisation of design projects as a medium to work through sensitive issues. Race-related issues, such as stereotyping, power relations and blackness/whiteness, were discussed, because those still are important issues in everyday social interactions. After the community interaction students wrote self-reflections about their experiences in the community and the about discussions they had had with community members. The action-orientated case study methodology was used to investigate the Citizenship project with the aim of assessing the project and bringing about further improvements in the curriculum. Data were collected through the students' written reflections, in-depth interviews and class and community observations, as well as reflections by the lecturer/researcher on her role. The action-orientated case study approach encourages the realisation of the researcher's subjectivist point of view in opposition to a more objectivist stance. The data were evaluated with the understanding that it was potentially biased, prejudiced and ambiguous. © Common Ground, Sophia Rosochacki, Elmarie Costandius, All Rights Reserved.

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