Graphic design students’ perceptions of work practice
The aim of this study was to examine how students experience the transition from the classroom to the workplace. This research explored what factors students found problematic and which factors was helpful during the transition. This research was qualitative and this study focused on the experiences of the participants and all data was collected from their perception of work practice. I used Activity Theory as a theoretical framework to compile and organize relevant data. Data was gathered using video recordings, hand written journal entries and individual interviews. The research was conducted in an on-campus design studio that is situated within the Design Faculty at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The reason for choosing Design Logic as a site is the following; the studio sits neatly between the classroom and the workplace, although the studio is in a protected environment, most of the elements that are present in a real world setup is reflected within Design Logic i.e. the stresses of satisfying demanding clients, working with budgets, liaising with suppliers and the ever present looming deadlines all form part of the daily make-up of Design Logic. Although the starting point of the study was to search for the problem areas of the student’s transition into the work place, the analyzed data revealed the dissimilarities between the two systems and how the participants overcame the difference i.e. shifting identities and rules and norms to develop new skills suited for the work place. The workspace opened a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and highlighted the value and importance of work practice in preparation of graduates for industry.