Interface to Learning: Creating a Design-centric Learning System


Lelia Green declares that a technoculture is in part defined by the communication technology through which it is conducted.1 If we are to foster creativity, visual experimentation and sophisticated visual communication, can it be done via conventional text based online learning technologies? Alternatively, will online learning technologies that offer richer modes of visual communication create richer technocultures and promote greater understanding of, and engagement in, creative visual communication?

This paper presents findings from recent research developing and using an online learning system designed to promote and support more sophisticated modes of visual communication. The system draws on functions and metaphors from graphic design desktop applications (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc.) in order to allow design students to construct online messages in much the same way as they construct their standard graphic design work. The research reveals significant findings in regards to: the role of the learning system; the pedagogy of blended learning (mix of face-to-face and online); the culture of online communication amongst design students and staff; and the notion of creativity within a university curriculum culture.


Geoff Hinchcliffe is an Associate Lecturer in Graphic Design at the University of Canberra. He is currently engaged in a Masters by Research in Communication, where he is focusing on the design and culture of online learning technologies. He is a graduate of the Canberra School of Art’s Graphic Investigation workshop and has practiced as a graphic designer for over 10 years, working in print, web, interactive media and television.