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Conversation and Design

Conversation and Design
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Author(s): Ranulph Glanville (The Bartlett, UCL, London, UK)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 21
Source title: Handbook of Conversation Design for Instructional Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Rocci Luppicini (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-597-9.ch005


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This chapter explores the relationship between the activity of design and conversation—particularly as developed in Gordon Pask’s Conversation Theory. Design and conversation are seen as analogous, so that design can be understood as a conversation held, generally, with the self (via paper and pencil). I argue that design has been a conversational activity since long before we started exploring conversation, and that design education is, itself, also conversational. This being so, conversational approaches are already the norm in design education. The benefit of considering design and conversation together in an educational setting is not so much to improve one or the other, but to understand each better through the mirror the other provides. Other aspects of design (such as the social working in the studio) are also related to this conversational understanding. It is argued that design is a powerful, alternative and fundamental way of working and being in the world, not poor science, and that Pask’s conversation theory helps us better understand both its power and its validity.

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