Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Andrew W. Place

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Second Advisor

Todd McCardle

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Third Advisor

Raymond A. Lauk

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership


Place-based education (PBE) is a pedological approach that takes learning outside of the classroom into the local community. Allowing students to not only explore their physical environments but also the history, people, and culture of a place. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to investigate the use of PBE by design education instructors in higher education. This focus on PBE in design education is significant because PBE has not been extensively examined in a design context. The results should extend knowledge about ways that local learning environments can create opportunities and experiences for design students that cannot be replicated in a classroom.This was accomplished by capturing the lived experiences of nine design instructors from the state of Georgia, USA. Using a semi-structured interview approach interviews were conducted via zoom in Fall 2021. The focus of the questions was on PBE, course structure and perceptions of student engagement. The most striking overall finding that emerged from this study is that although many respondents did not have a formal understanding of PBE as a pedological learning strategy, they nonetheless acknowledged that there is significant value in place as a construct that can enhance learning. Participants viewed place as a critical component of design education that can both inspire and challenge students while providing variety to instructional methods.