Pedagogy and Professional Development

Inclusive Design as a Strategy to Promote 21st Century Skills for Product Development Students

Authors: ,


The recent literature shows an uptick of apparel scholars seeking innovative ways to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in apparel classrooms. In this study, the authors used the Framework for 21st Century Learning (P21 Framework) to draw insights into how an inclusive design curriculum can foster student professional development, particularly regarding diversity and inclusion. The P21 framework outlines core 21st-century skills students should master to succeed in modern society. This study implemented an inclusive design curriculum through a semester-long project in the Product Development capstone course at a large Western university during the Fall 2021 semester. The purpose of the semester-long course project was to provide students with an opportunity to solve apparel-related problems experienced by underserved markets through an inclusive design approach. Data were collected through a post-survey at the end of the semester consisting of 25 open-ended and Likert-type questions to measure the effectiveness of the inclusive design pedagogy. The student project topics showed a range of DEI interests. The inclusive design curriculum effectively solicited skills from all three first-order categories, and at the most granular level, the inclusive design curriculum elicited 15 of 20 third-order skills. The authors found the inclusive design curriculum effective in advancing 21st-century skills. This project prepared students for a competitive job landscape increasingly focused on providing innovative solutions for diverse consumers and designing for underserved markets. 

Keywords: Inclusive design, pedagogy, product development, 21st century skills

How to Cite: Morris, K. D. & Boyle, S. (2022) “Inclusive Design as a Strategy to Promote 21st Century Skills for Product Development Students”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings. 79(1). doi: