The aim of this study is to describe and analyze learning taking place in a collaborative design exercise involving engineering students. The students perform a time-constrained, open-ended, complex interaction design task, an “interactionary”. A multimodal learning perspective is used. We have performed detailed analyses of video recordings of the engineering students, including classifying aspects of interaction. Our results show that the engineering students carry out and articulate their design work using a technology-centred approach and focus more on the function of their designs than on aspects of interaction. The engineering students mainly make use of ephemeral communication strategies (gestures and speech) rather than sketching in physical materials. We conclude that the interactionary may be an educational format that can help engineering students learn the messiness of design work. We further identify several constraints to the engineering students’ design learning and propose useful interventions that a teacher could make during an interactionary. We especially emphasize interventions that help engineering students-retain aspects of human-centered design throughout the design process. This study partially replicates a previous study which involved interaction design students.