Design Education and Learning









Communication is not collaboration: observations from a case study in collaborative learning 

Iestyn Jowers,Mark Gaved, Gary Elliott-Cirigottis,  Delphine Dallison, Alan Rochead, Mark Craig

The Open University, UK; MAKLab, Glasgow

Keywords: design education, maker-space, distance education, formal/informal learning


This paper presents a case study that focusses on developing communication and collaboration skills of undergraduate design students studying at a distance, and vocational learners based in a community maker-space. Participants were drawn from these formal and informal educational settings and engaged in a project framed in the context of distributed manufacturing, with designers working at a distance from the makers, whilst communicating using asynchronous online tools. Early analysis of the collected data has identified a diversity of working practice across the participants, and highlighted a disjunction between communication and collaboration. Encouraging learners to communicate is not the same as encouraging collaboration. Instead effective collaboration depends on sharing expertise through dialogue. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Jowers, L., Gaved, M., Elliott-Cirigottis, G., Dallison, D., Rochead, D., Craig, M. (2016). Communication Is Not Collaboration: observations from a case study in collaborative learning. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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