Contextual Inquiry: Benchmarking
Part of these packages: Benchmark and design
Supported by these technologies: Dropbox,
Based on their design brief, students identify what kind of examples of existing works to collect. Their choice depends on who they are designing for, what they are designing and the initial challenges they want to address. Student teams collect 10 examples of the kind of artifact that is similar to the one they are trying to design. They share their collected media files and analyze the differences and similarities of the example works they collected. Based on their collected information and analysis, the students refine their design brief, especially the design challenges and design results. They then record a reflection and update their blog. Classroom time needed: 1-2 lesson(s)
TERMINOLOGY – An inquiry is an act of asking for information. Benchmarking is indicated to be the way. In our design activities, the word contextual refers to the circumstances that the students would like to design for or place their design into. So, here, the students use benchmarking to collect information about the situation and factors of their design and that may inform their design.
1. Getting started
- Look at the blogs of each team of students, especially their design briefs.
- Support those who have not updated their blogs and design briefs.
- Listen to the reflection recordings of each team.
- Identify suitable websites for each team. We collected and will continue to collect websites full of inspiring examples at the Diigo Group ‘Design Inspiration for School’.
- Introduce the activity workshop to the students and tell them that they need to find and analyze 10 different examples, and explain how they relate to their project.
- Make sure that each team member knows what kind of examples they are looking for.
Teams search for comparable designs and discuss them. Remind the students about time-management.
Teams select the 10 most relevant related designs.
Teams analyse their examples, list similarities and differences, and identify design challenges and design ideas.
Teams discuss the following questions: 1. How did the workshop go? What interesting information was collected? Does the design brief still make sense or does it need refinement? How does it need to be refined?
Teams write their Design Brief 2 and record their Reflection 2
Design Brief blog entry: Teams add their Design Brief 2 to the blog. They label or tag the post with “design brief”.
Design Process blog entry: Teams use their reflection recording to write what they did, what challenges they had and what challenges they can foresee. They label or tag the post with “design process”
Design Results blog entry: Students add description and analysis of their 10 projects to the blog. They describe the similarities and differences of these existing designs and how they relate to their design. They may include drawings of design ideas. They label or tag the post with “design results”.
TIP 1: Slow Internet connection? Try to schedule the use of the Internet for each team to avoid Internet traffic congestion.
TIP 2: The learning activities culminate towards a design. Some students may be overwhelmed by the multitude and quality of benchmarked examples and find it difficult to proceed productively. If you recognize limitations of your students’ ability to produce, stop the benchmarking activity.
This post is also available in: Turkish