Recommendations for intervention in the visual domain: A study of undergraduate design students’ visual literacy and predominate learning style modalities

Dr. Arianne Jennifer Rourke and Dr. Zena O’Connor
2009 Conference

It is a common assumption among higher education design educators that design students have good visual literacy skills (based on having studied art or design in high school) and that they learn more effectively when material is presented visually. However, this is not always the case and recent studies have indicated that visual literacy levels as well as predominant learning modality vary among students (Rourke and O’Connor 2009, In press-a; Rourke and O’Connor In pressb). This paper discusses the findings from a recent study that focussed on visual literacy levels and predominant learning modality among undergraduate design students. The findings, which have significant implications for higher education design history educators, reinforce the imperative to incorporate a range of different teaching materials and strategies into teaching. A number of key recommendations are provided aimed at assisting educators towards improving the learning experience for undergraduate design students.