Transforming your staff's potential

Sunday, October 9, 2011

On Research & Design, Form & Content

I am salivating over a Master's of Research program in Information Environments at University of the Arts, London.

From the website:

What's an MRes?

In this context, it's basically research for designers. Augment your practical skills with a Masters degree in empirical research methods, for a better understanding of people, places and things. That said, you don't have to be a designer - we've had photographers, fine artists, a historian and a life coach - but many of the students have a first degree and/or practical experience in some form of design. The course is a mix of theory and practice, balancing the theories and methods of the social sciences with practical skills in various areas of digital and analog design and fabrication.

The research informs the design, and the design enhances the research.

What are information environments?

In a nutshell, most of the physical and virtual environments we live in and use today - the home, city, village, workplace, museum, retail environments. The Internet and virtual worlds are no longer separated from the real world - ubiquitous sensors, embedded micro-computers, intelligent buildings, interactive installations, networked cameras all blur the line between physical and digital. The course aims to help you study, understand and explain the informational world we live in. 
I love the idea that research informs design and design enhances research.  It reminds me of a video of Paul Rand speaking on design.  He said,

"Without content there's no form, and without form there's no content.... When form predominates, meaning is blunted. When content predominates, interest lags."

The concepts of design are universal to all its applications.  Instructional design is most effective when alignment and balance of information, its context and its delivery method and form are "right."  The problem is figuring out what is "right."  THAT, I have found, is a Wicked Problem.   

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