Design is a profession of applications: products, services, procedures, processes, and structures. It is a field that measures its accomplishments by its creations. Traditionally, design training has focused on the skills and procedures necessary to create objects and services. These methods are taught in studio courses, where lectures and readings are minimized, and then, through projects and assignments, students create and instructors observe, critique, and assist.

Today, however, as designers are asked to address an extremely wide variety of issues, new kinds of knowledge and skills are required. Designers need to know more about the world: its history, politics, cultures, laws, and customs. They need to understand how life in many places has been forcibly imposed by colonizing forces, mostly from Europe and the United States, imposing their beliefs, religions, and customs. Because societal issues and relevant technologies and social structures are continually undergoing change, designers (and everyone) also need self-regulated and directed learning skills so that they can practice continual, life-long learning.

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