Exploring architectural discourse and form through game-like on-line learning strategies
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This paper describes and interprets the use of game-like on-line learning strategies in an introductory course on the theories and histories of 20th Century Architecture and Landscape. Analogies between games and design have been observed by both design theorists and educators (Hubbard, 1980; Woodbury, 2001). The game/design analogy is a particularly useful conceptual framework for design learning, we argue here, because of its robustness as both a theory of design-thinking, and a heuristic representation through which design discourse and practice may be subjected to playful yet critical scrutiny. Game-like learning strategies described in this paper enabled students to develop a critical 'feel for the games' (Bourdieu, 1990) inherent in the form-making and theoretical discourses of recent architectural history. We discuss the game-like dynamics and objectives of two interrelated on-line components of the course's assessment scheme. We make some preliminary observations on student experience with these exercises. We also reflect on relevant sub-issues in the discursive dynamics of on-line design learning, with particular regard to the use of on-line discussion-boards and VRML as a modelling medium portable across the internet that can enable the exploration of spatial and narrative aspects of design discourse in real time.