Teaching Participatory Design using Live Projects: Critical Reflections and Lessons Learnt

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


There are few examples of academic work that describe Participatory Design (PD) and Co-design instruction. This paper presents experiences from four years of teaching a university course on Co-design and PD to an average of 57 students per year. A main part of our pedagogical approach is the implementation of Donald Schön’s concept of a reflective practicum, via a mandatory ‘live’ project that runs for the whole semester. We discuss the potential and challenges of teaching PD and Co-design to large classes using live projects, including how to give students first-hand experience of the whole PD process, how to coach students in collecting and using field data, and what expectations of a Co-design process and its participants are realistic. The paper also examines how PD-related challenges affect teaching PD as an academic subject.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPDC '18 Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference : Full papers - Volume 1
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationNew York, US
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date20 Aug 2018
Article number8
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-6371-6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2018
EventParticipatory Design Conference 2018: Participatory Design, Politics and Democracy - Hasselt, Belgium
Duration: 20 Aug 201824 Aug 2018
Conference number: 15


ConferenceParticipatory Design Conference 2018
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the Participatory Design Conference


  • Teaching
  • Participatory Design
  • Co-design
  • University course
  • Live projects
  • Reflections
  • Analysis
  • Lessons learnt


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