Each student develops a portfolio detailing this kind of experience during the course of his or her studies. Individual assignments are also included in this portfolio. Sixty per cent of a student's time is spent on joint unit projects. The rest of their time is spent on individual assignments, in which students acquire specific basic knowledge and skills, such as modelling and programming. The Bachelor's course consists of basic training and subsequent specialisation in different areas, such as Product Design and Embedded Systems Design. During the Master's programme, in the fourth year, students work as trainees for outside businesses or organisations for at least three months. A traineeship may last up to one year. Students are encouraged to spend at least part of their time as a trainee abroad. In the fifth year they work on an integrative final project based on their previous specialisation.
Competency learning systemThe way this course of study is organised is inspired by an education model known as competency learning. The system focuses on complex behaviour and gives equal weight to knowledge, skills and attitudes. Acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes is part of every 'job' a student is given. He or she starts developing as a professional designer from day one. Competency learning requires a powerful working and learning environment. A place where self-tutoring is possible, which responds flexibly to each individual and which recognises the importance of collaborative learning within a realistic context.
One of the reasons competency learning is greatly suited to industrial design is that design has always been a profession which is learned and performed by practical application, not exclusively through the acquisition of theoretical skills. This stems both from the nature of the skills involved (e.g. drawing, 3D modelling, presenting) and from the fact that certain types of knowledge are hard to formalise (e.g. aesthetics, product semantics, product values, creativity).