Tertiary institutions are under increasing pressure from industry to prepare students for rapid social, environmental, and economic changes. Students anticipate obtaining qualifications that will prepare them for future careers in challenging environments, utilising technologies that have yet to be invented to solve problems that have not been anticipated. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for investment in technologies and techniques to increase teaching efficiency. Similarly, the necessity to adapt to the “new normal” and the push of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are causing rapid changes in technology, industry, and societal patterns and processes. The interior design sector has been equally impacted by technology. The emergence of computer software to communicate complex interior construction problems, in particular, has had a significant impact on the industry. Students who graduated ten or twenty years ago have had to adjust to changing technologies. Because of the technology and ease of access to information introduced into tertiary institutions’ curricula, it is reasonable to assume that the process used by older students to solve complex interior construction problems would be different from that used by students in tertiary institutions today. Considering the processing of interior construction problems: what information, skills, attitudes, and values did prior generations of interior design students employ that are different from today’s students? How can instructional systems effectively develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values in a globalised world grounded in Africa by preparing students in today’s ever-evolving, increasingly hybrid settings, considering how previous student generations adapted to rapid changes in technology and ease of access to information? This paper will use critical reflection to identify, question, and evaluate past student generations’ processes to process complex interior construction problems. The study explores the contrasts and similarities in how different student generations approach challenging interior construction problems through qualitative, semi-structured interviews. The collected data will be valuable to interior design educators in establishing or adjusting courses to equip interior designers in South Africa for the rapid changes in today’s shifting, increasingly hybrid surroundings.
Ilse Prinsloo is an academic researcher and interior architect with over 30 years of progressive experience in interior design and higher education. She has a particular interest in retail design related to retail management, brand management and marketing. She is dedicated to providing innovative teaching and learning with good pedagogic practice to enhance student and staff experience. She has been part of the course transformation, partnered with research communities and cultivated collaborations with professional interior design partners, nationally and internationally.
Sadiyah Geyer has built up over a decade of industry experience and is highly skilled in the execution of interior architecture and design projects, focusing on conceptual development, technical documentation, project management and administration. She has a deep passion for working with people, designing to contribute to the enrichment of society and creating spaces that provide maximum user comfort and efficiency, with minimal impact on the environment. With the aim of sharing her passion and knowledge of the built environment with aspiring, young interior designers, she joined the University of Johannesburg in the faculty of Art, Design and Architecture as an academic and researcher. Her teaching experience in the past five years has been an energising and rewarding step in her career. She has recently completed her MA (Design) qualification at the University of Johannesburg. Her research focuses on urban regeneration strategies through the implementation of interior design as a creative industry.