Supporting collaborative design activity in a multi-user digital design ecology

Roberto Martinez-Maldonado, Peter Goodyear, Lucila Carvalho, Kate Thompson, Davinia Hernandez-Leo, Yannis Dimitriadis, Luis P. Prieto, Dewa Wardak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Across a broad range of design professions, there has been extensive research on design practices and considerable progress in creating new computer-based systems that support design work. Our research is focused on educational/instructional design for students’ learning. In this sub-field, progress has been more limited. In particular, neither research nor systems development have paid much attention to the fact that design is becoming a more collaborative endeavor. This paper reports the latest research outcomes from R&D in the Educational Design Studio (EDS), a facility developed iteratively over four years to support and understand collaborative, real-time, co-present design work. The EDS serves to (i) enhance our scientific understanding of design processes and design cognition and (ii) provide insights into how designers’ work can be improved through appropriate technological support. In the study presented here, we introduced a complex, multi-user, digital design tool into the existing ecology of tools and resources available in the EDS. We analysed the activity of four pairs of ‘teacher-designers’ during a design task. We identified different behaviors - in reconfiguring the task, the working methods and toolset usage. Our data provide new insights about the affordances of different digital and analogue design surfaces used in the Studio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-342
Number of pages16
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Authoring tools and methods
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Cooperative/collaborative learning
  • Human-computer interface
  • Teaching/learning strategies

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