Instructional designers guided by external representations in a design process

  • John BaakiEmail author
  • Tian Luo


Responding to a call to create an authentic learning environment where instructional design students find meaning in what is being designed, we asked student design teams to respond to: give us something to react to and make it rich. Student designers took stock in, reacted to, and reflected on rich external representations, for three class projects in different instructional design classes. Following specific definitions of rich external representations and elements of context, our study aimed to answer the question: in what ways did student designers take stock in, react to, and reflect on their rich external representations in an authentic learning environment? Student designers openly interpreted their external representations, received information from their external representations, and stimulated a reflective conversation, which sparked an iterative design process. The instructor was an active participant who observed firsthand the progress of each design and, ultimately, the final design interventions. We conclude that constructing an authentic learning environment where students interacted with external representations drove design processes that resulted in feasible and effective interventions.


External representations Multidisciplinary Reflection-in-action Reflective conversations Design thinking Designing Authentic learning environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Darden College of EducationOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Darden College of EducationOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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