Learning from “Interpretations of Innovation”

Learning Sciences researchers often design alongside the learners and other stakeholders they seek to support—involving them early and often in the conceptualization, development, and testing of learning environments (DiSalvo, 2016; Druin, 2002). This is done to preempt technical or pragmatic issues with design, address problems of practice, and build capacity for institutional change. However, designers often run into a more foundational issue: Stakeholders hold different expectations about what types of learning a given design is meant to support (Könings, Brand-Gruwel, & Merriënboer, 2005; Könings, Brand-Gruwel, & Merriënboer, 2014; Wilkerson, 2017). These “interpretation(s) of innovation” (Fishman, 2014, p. 117) reveal different underlying goals and epistemologies held by designers, learners, and other stakeholders. In other words, they reveal which kinds of learning stakeholders expect or value, and whether those kinds of learning appear to be supported by the environment. 

In this chapter we argue that designers ought to (a) invite, attend to, and learn from different interpretations of designed innovations, and (b) respond by expanding the designed environments to support more varied uses. We contend this is especially needed when designed tools and environments are intended to introduce an audience to new or unfamiliar epistemic practices, such as those making use of digital tools.

Wilkerson, M. H., Shareff, R. L., & Laina, V. (2022). Learning from “interpretations of innovation” in the codesign of digital tools. In M-C. Shanahan, B. Kim, M. A. Takeuchi, K. Koh, A. P. Preciado-Babb, & P. Sengupta (Eds.), The Learning Sciences in Conversation: Theories, Methodologies, and Boundary Spaces. Routledge.