It is now an accepted maxim in design theory and practice that real-world problems needing the attention of design practitioners are not neat and well-structured, but ill-structured and “wicked”—part of a larger, complex social situation. For design education, then, to take its lead from contemporary social, political and economic structures, it will have to seriously re-think its problem-solving paradigms. The authors investigate the use of self-generating learning narratives in the classroom and contrast the approach they introduce with the still-too-prevalent notion that knowledge can be transferred from teacher to student. Their methodology draws from ideas formulated by Maturana and Varela on autopoiesis, specifically the notion of co-ontogenic drift.

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