The 2007 Professor John Eggleston Memorial Lecture. Learning to design : investigating the ‘inner activity’ of the pupil

Malcolm Welch
2007, Vol. 12, No. 3,


This paper will address five questions that emerge
from the title of the Design and Technology
Association Education and International Research
Conference 2007: ‘Linking Learning’: (a) How can we
think about learning so that it informs our work in
design and technology? (b) What is known about
design and designing that might help pupils learn to
think in a designerly way? (c) What do we know
about the ‘inner activity’ of designers that can support
pupils learning to design? (d) What does the pupil
need to learn in order to think in a designerly way?
and (e) What do we know about ‘linking learning’ and
how can this inform our work in design education?
The paper begins with a review of learning, one of
education’s central concepts. This is followed by a
discussion of the term ‘design’, the knowledge
required by a designer, and how a designer comes to
know. The third section of the paper examines the
meaning of the term ‘design’ in the context of design
and technology classrooms. The fourth section (a)
discusses transfer theory of learning, and (b) identifies
a variety of ‘links’ that have possible meaning for
design education. The paper concludes with
suggestions for approaches to research in design
education. Throughout the paper, questions that could
serve as the basis for both short and longitudinal
research studies are identified.


Learning ; Design ; Design education ; Design and technology ; Research

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