, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1013–1026 | Cite as

Reinventing learning: a design-research odyssey

  • Dor AbrahamsonEmail author
Original Article


Design research is a broad, practice-based approach to investigating problems of education. This approach can catalyze the development of learning theory by fostering opportunities for transformational change in scholars’ interpretation of instructional interactions. Surveying a succession of design-research projects, I explain how challenges in understanding students’ behaviors promoted my own recapitulation of a historical evolution in educators’ conceptualizations of learning—Romantic, Progressivist, and Synthetic (Schön, Intuitive thinking? A metaphor underlying some ideas of educational reform (working paper 8). Division for Study and Research in Education, MIT, Cambridge, 1981)—and beyond to a proposed Systemic view. In reflection, I consider methodological adaptations to design-research practice that may enhance its contributions in accord with its objectives.


Design Project Systemic View Transformational Change Reverse Scaffolding Synthetic View 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



For their highly constructive comments on earlier drafts, I wish to thank Dragan Trninic and Maria Droujkova as well as the ZDM Editor-in-Chief and three anonymous reviewers.


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© FIZ Karlsruhe 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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