Planning to iterate: Supporting iterative practices for real-world ill-structured problem-solving

Daniel G. Rees Lewis, Jamie Gorson, Leesha V. Maliakal, Spencer E. Carlson, Elizabeth M Gerber, Christopher K Riesbeck, Matthew Wayne Easterday

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Solving real-world highly ill-structured problems involves iteration: gathering information, building, testing, and revising products, experiments, and theories. However, we do not know how to create learning environments to teach iteration for highly ill-structured problems. How might we help student teams effectively iterate for highly ill-structured design problems? In this design-based research study we built on learning sciences research to implement Planning to Iterate—a weekly planning session in which teams create problem and planning representations. The study took place in a 6-week extracurricular undergraduate design program with five undergraduate project teams working on highly ill-structured problems. To understand team iterative practices, we analyzed videos of teams’ weekly planning sessions, and teams’ artifacts. Students significantly increased iterative practices, but infrequently integrated the practices together, suggesting re-design with additional coaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS
Issue number2018-June
StatePublished - 2018
Event13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2018: Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age: Making the Learning Sciences Count - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 23 2018Jun 27 2018


  • Design research
  • Iteration
  • Planning tools
  • Problem-solving
  • Project-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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