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He sought to offer an approach to an epistemology of practice based on a close examination of what a (small) number of different practitioners actually do.

Pakman (2000:3) goes on to comment: The interest in metaphor expressed in that book, would grow years later toward his elaborations on “generative metaphor,” and its role in allowing us to see things anew.

Thus, he was already showing some of what would be epistemological enduring interests for his inquiry, namely: learning and its cognitive tools, and the role of reflection (or lack of it) in learning processes in general, and conceptual and perceptual change in particular.

After graduating, he received the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and continued at Harvard, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy.

The focus for his doctoral dissertation (1955) was John Dewey’s theory of inquiry – and this provided him with the pragmatist framework that runs through his later work.

Little, Inc., Donald Schon formed the New Product Group in the Research and Development Division.

Under the Kennedy administration, he was appointed director of the Institute for Applied Technology in the National Bureau of Standards at the US Department of Commerce (he continued there until 1966).

He argued that it was ‘susceptible to a kind of rigor that is both like and unlike the rigor of scholarly work and controlled experimentation’ (op. His work was quickly, and enthusiastically, taken up by a large number of people involved in the professional development of educators, and a number of other professional groupings.

His last major new literary project arose out of a long-term collaboration, dating back to the early 1970s, with Martin Rein (a colleague at MIT).

This collaboration involved teaching, researching and consulting and resulted in three key publications: Theory in Practice: Increasing Professional Effectiveness (1974), Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective (1978), and Organizational Learning II: Theory, Method, and Practice (1996).

Here we can see Donald Schon’s attention moving toward some of the themes that emerged in The Stable State.

On this page we review his achievements and focus on three elements of his thinking: learning systems (and learning societies and institutions); double-loop and organizational learning (arising out of his collaboration with Chris Argyris); and the relationship of reflection-in-action to professional activity.