Reflection-in-action and motivated reasoning

Jones, Derek (2015). Reflection-in-action and motivated reasoning. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers (VandeZande, Robin; Bohemia, Erik and Digranes, Ingvild eds.), Aalto University, pp. 1599–1615.



Reflection in design pedagogy still has a limited theoretical basis, being based largely on historical precedent and the more recent work of Donald Schön. Discipline criticisms of reflection in design pedagogies and curricula have yet to be addressed fully and, compared to other disciplines, design has relatively little critical debate around the theory and practice of reflection. Research in other domains, notably psychology and cognitive neuroscience, presents challenges to this view of reflection as some process of objective observation. This paper presents a modified view of design reflection taking account of these latter challenges and a framework for analysis of written reflection is given. Evidence using this framework is presented using a sample of design student written reflection. The results, albeit from a small sample size, suggest that the value of reflection in design education is perhaps not in its ‘truthfulness’ but its utility as part of the design process.

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