Diana Laurillard - Teaching as a Design Science

Teaching as a Design Science
What it takes to teach
Chapter 5
Factors influencing the design of teaching
There must be coherence between the learner's and the
teacher's expected outcomes. The teacher can
influence those goals by designing his teaching context
Design begins with the teacher's
aims for the course. They are
influenced by:
Professional qualifications
Personal interests
Standardized requirements
Expected students' skills
Time available and other logistics
Students' interests
Design continues with expected
learning outcomes and curriculum
Here again, students'
expectations and interests
influence design.
Learning and assessment activities are
designed taking into account the previous
The teaching learning process is iterative:
feedback loops are a constant all over the
This links to the "reflective practice"
chapter at the beginning of the
Even though the proposed model
coincides with most of the literature
covering the planning/design of teachinglearning
environments, most course
proposals in HE do not include analyses
of student's learning needs.
Approaches to designing for learning
1st clarification: learning CANNOT be designed.
You can try to design in order to make learning
possible, which is different.
Common problem within
"instructional design" literature.
Overwhelming variety of
models, diagrams,
approaches and
alternatives. (The
supermarket paralysis).
PLUS: there is little consensus within them.
Some authors stand out (see page 67), but
there is still lack of common threads.
Entwistle and Smith (2002, cited by Laurillard) made a
similar critique: Models seem to contradict each other and
may even appear unrealistic and detached of actual
classroom contexts.
Attempts to offer guidelines on instructional design have, so far, departed from the
pedagogical concepts of learning (Ch 4). The author will continue that approach.
In order to assist the learner in completing
his learning cycles, the teacher is suggested
Align teacher learner goals
Set goals that use concepts
available to the pupil.
Clarify concepts to ease
knowledge organization.
Build an appropriate environment
Monitor the building and use of concepts
Offer meaningful feedback
Aligning goals, activities and assessment
The learning aims have to make sense
to the students, they have to be
To achieve this, Ausubel
suggests (read p68)
Begin with a comment that
relates to the learner's own
Use an intriguing question for which
the instruction serves as an
Dewey's more radical
approach (1938)
Goals should be discussed
and negotiated with the learner.
Content negotiation is hard
below Phd levels.
There must be internal coherence among what you
want for a course, what you teach, the way you teach it,
and the activities and assessment strategies
Alignment is unobjectionable.
The question is HOW?
So far, teachers have used
language trying to address
Verbs like "argue", "reflect",
"analyze", "explain" are
pervasive within attempts to
build an aligned lesson plan.
The question remains
postponed, not answered.
Teachers must look at the whole
picture when trying to address
Goals Knowledge
Action Feedback
If the teacher reflects
upon the whole
process, the alignment
will not be left for the
student to guess.
Alignment is unobjectionable.
The question is HOW?
Monitoring Alternative Conceptions
Curriculum design implies an awareness of the
appropriate sequence of concepts and
knowledge. FQ's
Which concepts are needed?
Which misconceptions are frequent?
How difficult/easy is it to grasp?
What do students know?
One main teaching principle drawn from "How
people learn" (Bransford, Brown and Cocking,
2003, Cited by Laurillard, 2012:71)
1. Teachers should use the students'
previous knowledge as a departure
This requires us to:
Inquire their thinking.
Generate spaces where their
thoughts can surface.
Provide feedback
Design assessment to
address understanding.
Work out with preconceptions
(refinement, replacement)
Other theorists and experiments
agree with this principle. (pp 7172)
Conclusion: Rather than homogenizing pupil's conceptions into
his own, the teacher should monitor alternative conceptions.
This requires us to go beyond priorconceptions. (Laurillard,
Scaffolding Theorygenerated Practice
The student should be allowed
spaces to practice, selfassess and
This requires teachers to:
Deconstruct complex actions to
make them more accessible to the
Step by step processes ease
actions and triggers
Provide an environment that promotes
practice, testing and improvement of
Time is a crucial element to
practice, specially with complex
Offer meaningful feedback to their actions.
How does the learner's outcome differ
from the initial expectations (ideal
An ideal type of the work to be
performed can be offered as a
Extrinsic feedback is critical to aid a pupil
attain the expected aims and improve its
Intrinsic feedback lies within the task
itself, encouraging autonomous
Meaningful feedback that
encourages improvement faces 2
The teacher must be careful to ensure that the
student faces the complexity of the task.
Otherwise, feedback is meaningless.
The size of the groups makes it difficult for a
teacher to focus his attention and feedback in the
individual learner.
Fostering conceptual change
Designing a practiceoriented learning
environment is difficult and timeconsuming
Teachers opt for presentations, texts and
other representations to increase time
There are concepts that might be
well described as "counterintuitive".
The teacher must understand the underlying
misconception to design activities that allow
conceptual change.
Bridging strategy
Begin with a simpler casescenario where a
principle applies, moving progressively to higher
levels of complexity.
Cognitive conflict
The teacher designs an experimental situation where
students must predict the outcome, being forced to
abandon a misconception based on empirical falsifiability.
Architecture of variation
The teacher builds a concept from as many
perspectives possible to allow the pupils to
experience variation within the concept.
Achievements attained in one learning process
(approaches, lessons, skills, concepts, etc) become the
background for a new iterative process in a continuous
Confronting and disproving the students'
predictions might be the best strategy to allow for
conceptual change.
Encouraging Metacognition
Only through reflection on one's
actions can there be learning.
The teacher can foster it, but at the
end it is done autonomously by the
Whether reflection is being done or not can
only be judged from inferences, not from
This type of approach to learning has been
named "metacognitive", as it critically looks
one's own cognition from above, as a trial and
error process.
The teacher should open spaces for the students
to selfdirect their actions, and other spaces for
the metacognitive reflection.
Teaching as design
There are always some general guidelines on
how to rightly undertake instructional design, but
they are vague and sometimes subjective.
In order to nurture your pedagogical
practice, there is only one option: keep on
Why does teaching involve design?
"Everyone designs who devises courses of action
aiming at changing existing situations into desired
ones." (Simon, 1969:129, Cited by Laurillard 2012:
Research (theory)
Practitioner knowledge
Marton Proposes a set of steps
toward this (p78)
Define aims
Design teaching
Using feedback from previous exp.
Teach according to plan
Evaluate effectiveness
Spread lessons learned
Teachers need to be experiential learners and
improve their practice using other colleagues'
experiences as well.