International Journal of Art & Design Education

Improving Student Engagement in Commercial Art and Design Programmes (pages 89–101)

Volume 34.1   2015



The continued viability of art and design programmes depends on our ability to produce graduates able to contribute successfully and confidently to the future of the creative industries. This in turn depends on our ability to lead students to develop both the ability and the motivation to learn. A significant proportion of our students however, are not adequately prepared or inclined to engage with the learning environment. Based on a review of the literature on student engagement, this article attempts to identify the origins and examine the impact of the perceptions and attitudes (the ‘mental pictures’) that currently limit our students' ability and inclination to engage as well as those factors (including the features of our programmes) through which these ‘mental pictures’ may be inadvertently reinforced. It then proposes a number of practical suggestions to make more effective use of the learning outcomes of art and design programmes in order to mitigate their influence and thereby improve both our graduates' capacity and inclination to become more competent professionals, as well as self-directed learners.