Abstract (2011): A First Glimpse at the Whole. Christopher Alexander’s Fifteen Fundamental Properties of Living Centers and Their Implication for Education

Bauer, R. & Baumgartner, P., 2011. A First Glimpse at the Whole. Christopher Alexander’s Fifteen Fundamental Properties of Living Centers and Their Implication for Education. In C. Kohls & J. Wedekind, eds. Investigations of E-Learning Patterns: Context Factors, Problems and Solutions. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global, pp. 272–284.


This chapter proposes a discussion on how to transfer design patterns from architecture and software engineering to education. Computer scientists and pedagogues try to define patterns and pattern languages suitable for educational needs. The main goal of their work is to enhance quality and to foster best practices of teaching. Arguably, talking about a pedagogical pattern language requires definitely thinking about and describing its taxonomy, in other words, we have to think about a “grammar,” a set of logical and structural rules that govern the composition of meta-patterns, patterns and subpatterns like sentences, phrases, and words in any given natural language. Analyzing an exemplary educational scenario, this contribution will demonstrate the applicability of Alexander’s fifteen properties of living centers in education and intends to open discussion and reflection about the important role of an educational taxonomy for classifying existing pedagogical patterns. 

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