Exploring design students’ cognition and application of different levels of Chinese cultural elements

Abstract

Increasing attention is being given to traditional culture-orientated product design. While Chinese design students lack a deep understanding of traditional Chinese culture and its applications, little in-depth research has investigated this issue. Thus, how educators should guide and improve their students’ cultural design in the context of current Chinese design education and practices remains unclear. This study explores these design students’ cognition and application of different levels of Chinese cultural design elements to provide new insights for improving and adapting cultural design teaching practices. This study comprised three related stages. In stage 1, we extracted three levels of 15 representative cultural design elements from Chinese culture based on cultural hierarchy theory. In stage 2, we examined the students’ cognition about different levels of cultural elements using two questionnaire surveys. In stage 3, we further compared the differences in the application of cultural elements between experts and students to explore the students’ cultural application ability. The results showed that different design students have differing cognition of Chinese culture, which can be divided into two categories: i.e., cognitive deficiency or sufficiency. Compared with experts, students lack application experience and ability in the design elements of inner ‘intangible’ and middle ‘behavioural’ levels, because of their insufficient understanding of these two cultural design levels. These findings may reveal deficiencies in Chinese design students’ cognition and application, and provide targeted cultural teaching guidance.

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Acknowledgements

This paper is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (LQ19E050016), and the National Social Science Fund Youth Project of China (18CG198).

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Correspondence to Defu Bao.

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Yang, Z., Bao, D. & Shen, D. Exploring design students’ cognition and application of different levels of Chinese cultural elements. Int J Technol Des Educ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-020-09606-w

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Keywords

  • Cultural cognition
  • Cultural application
  • Culture-orientated design
  • Cultural hierarchy theory
  • Design education