Participatory educational design: How to improve mutual learning and the quality and usability of the design?

Fred J. J. M. Janssen*, Karen D. Konings, Jeroen J. G. van Merrienboer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)
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Many educational change proposals, designed to improve student learning, fail to be implemented in classrooms, which is a threat to the impact of educational policy on educational practice. This has led to a call for participatory educational design in which different stakeholders are involved in the generation and consideration of alternative learning environments, including physical spaces that better support learning. The development of tools to effectively engage non-professional designers in design activities is still in its early stages. In this article, we present two tools that can improve mutual learning of those involved in the design process and the quality and usability of both learning environments and supportive physical spaces: the laddering tool and the building block tool. Both are based on a new conception of teaching as bounded rational design in which a teaching practice is seen as a design to attain multiple goals simultaneously in a complex classroom context with limited available resources. By presenting a case from biology teaching, we illustrate how educational design processes between teachers unfold when they use these two tools. We argue and demonstrate that these tools are important for facilitating effective use of diverse contributions from different stakeholders, and also when involving students and architects in a participatory design process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-279
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017



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