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IDR: A participatory methodology for interdisciplinary design in technology enhanced learning


Computers & Education Volume 50, Number 2, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


One of the important themes that emerged from the CAL’07 conference was the failure of technology to bring about the expected disruptive effect to learning and teaching. We identify one of the causes as an inherent weakness in prevalent development methodologies. While the problem of designing technology for learning is irreducibly multi-dimensional, design processes often lack true interdisciplinarity. To address this problem we present IDR, a participatory methodology for interdisciplinary techno-pedagogical design, drawing on the design patterns tradition [Alexander, C., Silverstein, M., & Ishikawa, S. (1977). A pattern language: Towns, buildings, construction (Center for environmental structure series). New York, NY: Oxford University Press] and the design research paradigm [DiSessa, A. A., & Cobb, P. (2004) Ontological innovation and the role of theory in design experiments. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 77–103]. We discuss the iterative development and use of our methodology by a pan-European project team of educational researchers, software developers and teachers. We reflect on our experiences of the participatory nature of pattern design and discuss how, as a distributed team, we developed a set of over 120 design patterns, created using our freely available open source web toolkit. Furthermore, we detail how our methodology is applicable to the wider community through a workshop model, which has been run and iteratively refined at five major international conferences, involving over 200 participants.


Winters, N. & Mor, Y. (2008). IDR: A participatory methodology for interdisciplinary design in technology enhanced learning. Computers & Education, 50(2), 579-600. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 22, 2021 from .

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