DOI: 10.1177/14703572231206462 ISSN: 1470-3572

Intersemiotic emergence in sketchbook-mediated design learning

D.A. Restrepo-Quevedo, Roberto Cuervo, Juanita Gonzalez-Tobon, Jorge Camacho, Edgar Hernandez
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Communication

This article presents the concept of intersemiotic emergence as a didactic strategy for design learning, discussed from the perspective of social semiotics and communication studies. With this strategy, students orchestrate autotelic relationships using modes and personalized semiotic resources. The primary value of intersemiotic emergence lies in its efficiency in making sense of the lecturer’s concepts during the design process. The selected sample of design materials was created in the context of two degree programmes – industrial design and graphic design – at two prominent Colombian universities. The methodological design uses an interpretive hermeneutical approach to identify this didactic strategy by analysing a cognitive artifact typical of design learning, the student’s sketchbook. This artifact shows students’ externalization processes, mental model transformations and meaning construction as a form of evolution. The review of iterated samples of the same exercise over a period allowed identifying and characterizing the intersemiotic emergence. In the sketchbooks, the authors found that a student’s mental model evolves due to the interaction between the semiotic resources of the conceptual models used, the mental models of the field in their training process and their experience in the field. This evolution causes the student to mature and produce their own autonomous and personalized externalization whose value resides in its production. The externalization enables students to construct meaning their way, integrating and defining coding and interpretation levels from their understandings of the symbolic field in which they are studying. This process results in the so-called intersemiotic emergence.

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