You are here:

Our Designs and the Social Agendas They Carry

, , , ,

Journal of the Learning Sciences Volume 16, Number 2, ISSN 1050-8406


Although the work of learning scientists and instructional designers has brought about countless curricula, designs, and theoretical claims, the community has been less active in communicating the explicit and implicit critical social agendas that result (or could result) from their work. It is our belief that the community of learning scientists is well positioned to build transformative models of what could be, to develop learning and teaching interventions that have impact, and to advance theory that will prove valuable to others. This potential, we argue, would be significantly heightened if we as a community embrace the critical agendas that are central to so many discussions in anthropology, philosophy, or even curriculum development more generally. Instead of simply building an artifact to help individuals accomplish a particular task, or to meet a specific standard, the focus of critical design work is to develop sociotechnical structures that facilitate individuals in critiquing and improving themselves and the societies in which they function, and then we use our understanding of participation with these structures to advance theory. As an example of critical design work, we describe the Quest Atlantis project and the methodology used in its creation.


Barab, S., Dodge, T., Thomas, M.K., Jackson, C. & Tuzun, H. (2007). Our Designs and the Social Agendas They Carry. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 16(2), 263-305. Retrieved April 11, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on December 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact