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Title: From theory to reality : enhancing creativity and achievements of Hong Kong Chinese students in visual merchandising through online design platform and consideration of cultural components
Authors: Law, D 
Issue Date: 2015
Source: Proceedings of the 7th Asian Conference on Education (ACE2015), Kobe, Japan, 21-25 Oct 2015 How to cite?
Abstract: Visual merchandising involves the manipulation of design elements and themes in retail outlets, thus creating a pleasant store atmosphere and shopping experience for customers. It is therefore important to teach students on ways to best determine the strategies that are appropriate for different types of stores, and provide training in both aesthetics and business operations. However, Hong Kong Chinese students have adapted a passive learning approach; they are result-oriented and insensitive to art, and therefore expect that their instructors will provide guidelines, definite answers and examples during the learning process as the means to achieving good grades. This is a cultural phenomenon found in many Asian countries. Therefore, stimulating their creativity becomes a difficult task as absolute answers cannot be given in terms of aesthetics and creativity. Instead of doing so, an approach is used which integrates a customizable design platform in an online store layout for store display assignments, and takes into consideration field research on local customs and aesthetics. A total of 100 Visual Merchandising students at a Hong Kong university have participated in a related study that utilized this approach. Focus group discussions and content analysis are used to collect and analyze the data respectively. It is found that the work of the student participants do not have a high degree of aesthetic congruence with those of previous students which were provided as guidelines, and they have adopted an open and creative attitude in developing store displays, thus indicating the success of this approach in stimulating student creativity. To further demonstrate their abilities, a publicly accessible exhibition was organized to showcase their creativity.
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