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ERIC Number: EJ782298
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 48
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1864
Facilitating the Learning of Design Practices: Lessons Learned from an Inquiry into Science Education
Kolodner, Janet L.
Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, v39 n3 p9-40 Spr 2002
A major emphasis in technology education is learning the practices of designers-making informed decisions, trading off achievement of criteria against each other, working in a team, communicating ideas and results, and so on. How can one help students learn such ill-defined and open-ended skills? There have been a variety of suggestions made by the best teachers and those who observe and analyze their practices about how to achieve learning from project experiences, and textbooks and innovative modules are being developed based on those best practices. The literatures of cognitive science and the learning sciences inform one about the learning of skilled practices and make some suggestions about how to promote learning such skills as reading and writing. There has been only a little research devoted specifically to using what one knows about skill learning to promoting learning of the kinds skills designers engage in. This paper focuses on lessons learned from an inquiry into science education about how to promote learning of such skills. The focus of "Learning by Design"[TM], has been to help middle school students (grades 6 to 8; ages 12 to 14) learn science content in such a way that they can apply it in new situations and engage skillfully in the practices of scientists. This paper also defines the terms "skills" and "practices" and discusses what it takes to learn them. This paper then presents excerpts from two LBD units that illustrate the strategies and tactics they use. Finally, this paper considers three big issues in making such an approach work: (a) assessing the degree to which students are learning skills and practices; (b) preparing teachers for managing a classroom environment such as the one they propose; and (c) taking the approach from science to technology classrooms. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A