Enhancing Diversity Through Design Education: A Mixed-Methods Case Study of the Development of a Design-Learning Tool for Minority Youth
Design-focused research has shown how diversity-related considerations are central to the design process; yet and still, racially minoritized individuals are largely absent from the field of professional design. Such existing disparities in racial representation are not due to a shortage of potential designers of color, rather a lack in access to design education and resources within racially minoritized communities. With this in mind, this study highlights and disrupts the minimal focus on design education within communities of color. In addition to enhancing diversity within the design industry, expanding the reach of design education is also beneficial students’ personal development. Grounded in the notion that teaching design thinking aids individuals in building key skills that translate to a variety of situations beyond design, this thesis explores the development and application of a design toolkit and programmatic model which aims to facilitate design education in focal communities. Minorities’ Opportunity to Learn Design (MOLD) is an equity-driven platform that delivers a physical and digital experience to design thinking and learning. Using an exploratory sequential approach, this mix-methods case study examines the development and application of MOLD in real-world settings. The study’s hypothesis asserts that providing design access and resources to racially minoritized students will increase their awareness of design, perceived value of design, and knowledge of the design thinking process. The findings of this case study support the research hypothesis, as the results indicate that awareness and perceived value of design increased among participants' after their interactions with the MOLD design-learning platform.