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Instructional design (ID) has been a scientized field of design for half a century, which means that models and principles have been emphasized in ID education over other forms of design knowledge, including precedent. In the study of design broadly defined, precedent is well established as a form of knowledge essential to competent practice. It is plentiful and made available through multiple channels, by practitioners as well as educators. This 7-year study examines the challenges for students in learning to recognize, appreciate and use precedent in designing images to support learning. These include the need to develop analogical thinking related to the use of precedent in their own work, to recognize precedents they already use without explicit awareness, to attend to precedent and seek it independent of its immediate use. Methods used in the studio course under study are discussed, together with examples of students' design activities at each stage in the evolution of the course. Data for this study comprise detailed field notes from each class period, student work, and reflections assigned as part of the regular class assignments.