A design pattern describe a recurring problem, or design challenge, the characteristics of the context in which it occurs, and a possible method of solution.
Each pattern describes a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice. (Alexander et al, 1977)
The Design patterns paradigm was proposed by Christopher Alexander as a form of design language within architecture. This was done with the explicit aim of externalizing knowledge to allow the accumulation and generalization of solutions and to allow all members of a community or design group to participate in discussions relating to design. These patterns were organized into coherent systems called pattern languages where patterns are related to each other. The original definition of a design pattern positions it as a high-level specification of a method of design which specifies the context of discussion, the particulars of the problem, and how these can be addressed by the designated design instruments. A pattern has three facets: descriptive, normative, and communicative. It is an analytic form, used to describe design situations and solutions; a meta-design tool, used to highlight key issues and dictate a method of resolving them; and a communicative tool enabling different communities to discuss design issues and solutions. The core of a design pattern can be seen as a local functional statement: “for problem P, under circumstances C, solution S has been known to work”. Design patterns were described as abstractions of expert knowledge; they generalise from successful practice without detaching from its context. As such, they offer a two-way bridge between practice and theory: opening practical wisdom to theoretical scrutiny and allowing theory to be projected into practice.
Collections of Pedagogical Design Patterns
Goodyear, P. & Retalis, S., ed. (2010), Technology-Enhanced Learning: Design Patterns and Pattern Languages, Sense, Rotterdam
Goodyear, P. (2005), 'Educational design and networked learning: Patterns, pattern languages and design practice', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 21 (1) , 82-101
Dimitriadis, Y.; Goodyear, P. & Retalis, S. (2009), 'Using e-learning design patterns to augment learners' experiences', Computers in Human Behavior 25 (5) , 997 - 998
Mor, Yishay and Winters, Niall (2007). 'Design approaches in technology enhanced learning' Interactive Learning Environments, 15(1), pp. 61–75. http://oro.open.ac.uk/30354/
Yishay Mor, Yishay.Mor@open.ac.uk