Core Source #2: Teaching as a Design Science

April 5, 2018 - Context of Education / Mistakes in Education

My statement on Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science (3rd Revised ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab, describes several pedagogical patterns for learning what makes it possible to teach in a world of diverse learners and messy realities. Her work is creating a pedagogical framework what is applicable to current education. Laurillard visualized learning cycles in two learning types: individual learning (learning through acquisition, learning through inquiry, learning through practice & learning through production) and social learning (learning through discussion & learning through collaboration). The application of these patterns are not described in this book, what makes it possible to create new alternatives but also raises questions about the exchange between the patterns. So is the combination of learning through practice (described as individual learning pattern) and learning through collaboration (described as social learning pattern) the closest, in my experience, to the way students learn in Maker Education. Unfortunately, the described design patterns are not combined in the book. Where (I think) especially these combination and shifting between several learning strategies are interesting.

According to Laurillard students do not learn much by following instructions. “.. with following instructions students are likely to avoid failures. When students make mistakes their response is more likely to return to the instructions than to reflect on how to adjust their action.” These remarks endorse the importance of making mistakes to internalize knowledge. In my belief, this does not only apply to students but also to teachers. In my work, I would like to inspire teachers to be(come) more like designers. Although Laurillard does not clearly frame the teacher as the designer, she appeals on similar assets like creativity, imagination and a positive attitude. She writes for example “teaching demands creativity and imagination. The imperative for teaching is to create (more than) a powerful experience for the audience.” In later work, she starts using the title teacher-designer. In her work, she enables teachers to create and share new pedagogies for using learning technology. With this pedagogical framework, teachers can be(come) designers of education when they use these patterns as building blocks which they rehearse several times. The book does reflect on the teachers’ feedback cycle but does not deepen the learning cycle of the profession where she also believes that this would innovate education. “It would be significant innovation if teachers did their own research”.

The work of Laurillard shapes the pedagogical framework for my research. Besides, it makes it possible that teachers can become designers on the pedagogical element of education. However, the patterns alone are, in my opinion, not iterative enough. It would be valuable when these patterns allow (easy) adjustments and combinations. The patterns of Teaching as a Design Science are not enough to change the educational climate, but they form a base to operate from.

Lexicon by Laurillard
SCIENCE: how things are
DESIGN: how things can be
DESIGN PATTERN: a semi-structured description of an expert’s method for solving a recurrent problem.


› tags: design / method / pattern / pedagogy / teachers /