Developing Autonomous and Responsible Learners

A Hidden Perspective in First Year Design Studio






student’s experience, first-year experience, independent learning, engagement, design studio


The purpose of the design studio, which is the core of architectural education, is to educate the students to understand the nature of design, to think independently, to act in “designerly ways”, and to become “reflective practitioners”. The student must take on a new mode of learning, in which the main way to learn is by doing, and in which there is no one correct way to approach the design problem. The previous aspects associated with the studio — together with the open-ended, exploratory, and iterative nature of the design process — place the student at the center of the learning experience. Tutors in this context are facilitators of learning, rather than knowledge experts, and are expected to pay attention to the challenges that face students in adapting to this new learning environment and in assuming a new learner identity. Hence, this study employs longitudinal mixed approaches to uncover an emic perspective of the ways architecture students conceptualize learning in their first year and what distinguishes them from students in other disciplines.

How to Cite

Al Maani, D. (2020). Developing Autonomous and Responsible Learners: A Hidden Perspective in First Year Design Studio. EAAE Annual Conference Proceedings, 294–311. https://doi.org/10.51588/eaaeacp.70



Author Biography

Dua Al Maani, Cardiff University

Duaa al Maani is a PhD candidate at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. She is interested in educational research within design-based subjects with a particular focus on independent learning. She is researching learning independence and other hidden perspectives in the design studio, primarily through reconstructing students’ lived experience during their first year at architecture school. She has presented research papers at various international conferences within and outside the UK during the past two years.


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