Teaching Fashion Illustration to University Students: Experiential and Expository Methods / Commentary

Article excerpt


This study determined the effectiveness of the expository and experiential teaching methods on university students' ability to draw a fashion figure. The sample included 52 students enrolled in two sections of an introductory fashion illustration course. For each teaching method, 20 lessons were developed for an 8-week period and were validated by a panel of experts. The Proportional Fashion Figure Scale was administered as a pretest (d = . 74) and posttest (d .69). Ttest results indicated teaching methods were equally effective; scores increased over the 8week unit. Findings suggest that teachers of introductory fashion illustration courses have flexibility in selecting an effective teaching method.

Given the need and complexity of the teaching-learning process, it is paramount that researchers investigate teaching methods and learning outcomes at the university level. The lecture or expository method, described as having little student involvement, has continued to be the traditional approach to teaching (Black, Hall, & Martin, 1990), while the experiential method involves the student in a relation with direct experiences (Wurdinger, 1996). Therefore, the researchers proposed that there would be differences between university students taught by expository and experiential teaching methods according to student achievement in fashion illustration.

Reduction in monetary resources at the university level has caused administrators and faculty to evaluate strategies and outcomes in the teaching-learning process, balancing resource investments with dividend outcomes ("Footing the Bill," 1996). The new economic realities of the 1990s reinforce the need for faculty members to function under major economic changes, reduced resources, and cost containment (Perley, 1997).

University faculties are challenged to focus on the teaching-learning process in effectively educating students while efficiently using resources. The goal of educators is to enhance the educational process whereby students are motivated to learn to achieve both short- and long-term professional and personal goals, regardless of resources. Due to the complexity of the teaching-learning process, faculty-researchers continue to examine various teaching and learning strategies (Shuell, 1990). However, a paucity of research on teaching and learning has been conducted at the university level to adequately address the needs in higher education. "I don't think this country [United States] has spent enough time, especially at the level of higher education, thinking about teaching and learning," stated Frank Newman, President of the Education Commission of the States (Letherman, 1997, p. A-lI).


Literature on teaching and learning can be traced to Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. Much time has passed since these classic philosophers shared their ideas, yet the search continues for empirical evidence to help one's selection of an effective teaching method (Bruner, 1996; Kulik & Kulik, 1979).

Expository Teaching Method The expository method is probably the oldest method of presenting information to groups of people. McDavitt (1994) defined expository learning as "the presentation of predetermined information by a teacher to a learner. Like a sponge, the learner is expected to absorb this knowledge and later recall or recognize it" (p. 15). Empirical studies on the expository method, or lecture, in college teaching can be traced to Jones (1923). Kulik and Kulik (1979, p. 71) stated '1hroughout 50 years of research, the lecture [has] remained the most frequently used approach in college teaching, so it is not surprising that researchers have used it as a yardstick for measuring other teaching methods." As a traditional component of the expository approach, lectures are characterized by lack of active student involvement and the imparting of information as a one-way line of communication (Black et al. …