Client-based project work as experiential education: Connecting research to pedagogy

Jacobs, J. (2019). Client-based project work as experiential education. dmi: Review, 30(1), 46-54. doi:


This paper will examine how the research around experiential education connects to practice-based design curriculum that interacts with external clients. Questions related to course and experience design include: Are these courses and studios structured to achieve the goals of experiential education? How do they connect to industry-based design management practices? How are educators and students applying classroom theory to real-world projects and clients? How is the client-designer relationship explicated and embedded into pedagogy?

This paper will also investigate questions related to outcomes and assessment which include: Do these experiences lead to an increase in student understanding of design management practices? How do educators assess these projects? By understanding and connecting these practices to research on experiential education, we can better understand how to maximize learning and provide long-term support to these models. This inquiry is part of a larger research project that seeks to develop best practices in student-run, faculty-advised campus design studios.