A case study of craftspeople’s experiences with learning digital fabrication technologies
Abstract: This study reports on craftspeople’s experiences with learning digital fabrication technologies in the context of informal learning and professional development. This qualitative case study’s methods comprised two rounds of semi-structured interviews as well as participant observations. Using criterion sampling, nine craftspeople from various craft-related fields were chosen to participate in a short-term workshop to learn the basics of digital fabrication technologies. The findings revealed that the learning curve was steeper than the participants expected it would be. Several challenges were identified: technocentric pedagogy, complexity in 3D design software and hardware operations, and difficulty in integrating the technologies into specific craft processes and with specific materials. Regardless, the participants’ positive attitudes toward the potential for applying the technologies into their practices remained unchanged after the learning experience. For more effective incorporation of the technologies into craft practices, it is suggested that a new curriculum design customized for craft makers be constructed and implemented.