In S. Prediger, K. Gravemeijer, & J. Confrey (Eds.), Design research with a focus on learning processes [Special issue]. ZDM Mathematics Education, 47(6), 1013 – 1026.
Design research is a broad, practice-based approach to investigating problems of education. This approach can catalyze the development of learning theory by fostering opportunities for transformational change in scholars’ interpretation of instructional interactions. Surveying a succession of design-research projects, I explain how challenges in understanding students’ behaviors promoted my own recapitulation of a historical evolution in educators’ conceptualizations of learning – Romantic, Progressivist, and Synthetic (Schön 1981) – and beyond to a proposed Systemic view. In reflection, I consider methodological adaptations to design-research practice that may enhance its contributions in accord with its objectives.