The Things You Do to Know: An Introduction to the Pedagogy of Multiliteracies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


After a brief history of the context and evolution of the idea of Multiliteracies, this chapter focuses on its pedagogy. Originally framed as Situated Practice, Overt Instruction, Critical Framing, and Transformed Practice, these four orientations were subsequently translated in the Learning by Design project into the ‘Knowledge Processes’ of Experiencing, Conceptualizing, Analyzing and Applying. The chapter explores the roots of these orientations in what it characterizes as ‘didactic’ and ‘authentic’ pedagogies. Learning by Design is by comparison ‘reflexive’, combining elements of each of these traditions into a new synthesis. The chapter goes on to spell out the pedagogical specifics of each of the Knowledge Processes, then their epistemological basis as distinctive kinds of ‘knowledge-action’. We conclude by contrasting the cognitive emphases of both didactic and authentic pedagogy with the epistemological theory of learning that underpins Learning by Design. Its focus is on action rather than cognition—not what we know, but the things we do to know.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Pedagogy of Multiliteracies
Subtitle of host publicationLearning by Design
EditorsBill Cope, Mary Kalantzis
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781137539724
ISBN (Print)9781137539717
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • classroom discourse
  • knowledge process
  • learn module
  • critical pedagogy
  • didactic pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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  • Cite this

    Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2016). The Things You Do to Know: An Introduction to the Pedagogy of Multiliteracies. In B. Cope, & M. Kalantzis (Eds.), A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Learning by Design (pp. 1-36). Palgrave Macmillan.