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Schön: Design as a reflective practice

Abstract : In this paper, we present Schön's approach to design, as we have described it in The Cognitive Artifacts of Designing (2006). Schön is (if one excepts the design theorist Rittel) the first author after Simon to introduce a new approach to cognitive design theory. Schön formulated his view on design in terms of "reflective activity" and related notions, especially "reflective practice", "reflection-in-action", and "knowing-in-action". We interpret the activities underlying these notions as forms of what situativity authors have qualified as "situated action" and "situated cognition". In "reflection-in-action", "doing and thinking are complementary. Doing extends thinking in the tests, moves, and probes of experimental action, and reflection feeds on doing and its results. Each feeds the other, and each sets boundaries for the other" (Schön, 1983, p. 280). Reflection-in-action is the reflective form of knowing-in-action: It is Schön's assumption that "competent practitioners usually know more than they can say" (Schön, 1983, p. 8): this illustrates the classical, generally applicable difference between "knowing how" and "knowing that". For Schön, design was one of a series of activities in domains that involve reflective practice: City planning, engineering, management, and law, but also education, psychotherapy, and medicine. As he says it, "the designer constructs the design world within which he/she sets the dimensions of his/her problem space, and invents the moves by which he/she attempts to find solutions." (Schön, 1992, p. 11)
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Contributor : Willemien Visser Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 2:30:35 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 31, 2020 - 10:44:05 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 30, 2011 - 2:22:51 AM


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  • HAL Id : inria-00604634, version 1



Willemien Visser. Schön: Design as a reflective practice. Collection, 2010, Art + Design & Psychology, 2, pp.21-25. ⟨inria-00604634⟩



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