Unit 1 Aims
apply a Design-Based Research approach using Socio-Ecological Modelling to analyse an educational organisation; and
demonstrate understanding of a range of research-informed Educational Transformation approaches.
Week 1 Learning Outcomes
Understand the research methods of Action Research, Design Research, and Design-Based Research in Educational Technologies research; and
Understand the application of Systemic Design in researching Educational Technologies.
The focus of this course is on the use of research to support changes in educational practice though the adoption and use of various educational technologies, but not just any change, transformational change, that moves educational practice from one form to another.
While there are many models to support such changes, we will be exploring research informed processes, and indeed research generating processes that through studying a change process, help us better understand how and why such changes occur.
This week we will be exploring three such research processes that are commonly used when seeking to make such changes: Action, Design and Design-Based research.
Week 1 Recording
Week 1 Slides
Week 1 Learning Activities
Complete this weeks readings and responses to Teams before the tutorial so that you can effectively contribute to the discussion.
Action Research seeks transformative change through the simultaneous process of taking action and doing research, which are linked together by critical reflection.
Action research aims to contribute both to a research community and to practitioners in a specific problematic situation.
“Action research aims to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to the goals of social science by joint collaboration within a mutually acceptable ethical framework” (Rapoport, 1970).
It provides benefit to both the research community and to the practitioners involved, adding to our knowledge (research community benefit) and solving an immediate practical problem (practitioner benefit).
Action research can be applied in three main spectrums:
those which are more driven either by the researcher's agenda or by participants;
those which are motivated primarily by instrumental goal attainment or by the aim of personal, organizational or societal transformation; and
1st-, to 2nd-, to 3rd-person research, that is, my research on my own action, aimed primarily at personal change; our research on our group (family/team), aimed primarily at improving the group; and 'scholarly' research aimed primarily at theoretical generalization or large-scale change.
Action research involves a cycle of planning (input), action (transformation), and results (output), with each stage informing the next.
Action Research Stages
Post to Teams. What are the key differences between Action Research and Experimental Research?
Post to Teams. What are the key differences between Action Research and Design Research?
Design Research is the iteration of build and evaluate activities to develop an artifact..
The result from design research are the artefacts designed and produced, generally without the development of a theory of how or why these were developed. Such artificats could be anything from a lesson activity, a general educational technology such as video conferencing, or a specific educational technology such as an interactive multimedia application to teach a specific concept. They key is that it needs to be designed and refined through an iterative process of prototyping, testing and evaluation.
Design Research Stages
problem identification and motivation;
define the objectives for a solution;
design and development;
Practice Research is a combination of Design Research and Action Research.
Practice research is sub-divided into a researcher-driven theorising part and a situational inquiry which is conducted usually through collaboration between researchers and practitioners.
Within the research community there is debate over who can validly create artefacts (e.g. Educational Technologies) used in interventions, researchers, practitioners, or it does not matter.
There is also debate over the applicability of practice research to develop solutions to specific vs general problems, i.e. that which exist only for a particular organisation, or would exist in many organisations.
While unlike Action Research, Design Research does not generally require theorising, e.g. about why an intervention occurred, Design-Based Research incorporates this theoretical analysis.
Design-based research (DBR) is a research methodology used by researchers in the learning sciences, which is a sub-field of education. The basic process of DBR involves developing solutions (called "interventions") to problems. Then, the interventions are put to use to test how well they work. Such interventions can be much broader than the artefacts developed by Design Research, but could involve artefacts.
Design-based research is a systematic but flexible methodology aimed to improve educational practices through iterative analysis, design, development, and implementation, based on collaboration among researchers and practitioners in real-world settings, and leading to contextually-sensitive design principles and theories (Wang and Hannafin, 2005).
Design-Based Research (DBR) is also a lens or set of analytical techniques that balance the positivist and interpretivist paradigms and attempts to bridge theory and practice in education. A blend of empirical educational research with the theory-driven design of learning environments, DBR is an important methodology for understanding how, when, and why educational innovations work in practice; DBR methods aim to uncover the relationships between educational theory, designed artefact, and practice.
Research that is detached from practice “may not account for the influence of contexts, the emergent and complex nature of outcomes, and the incompleteness of knowledge about which factors are relevant for prediction” (Design-based Research Collective, 2003)
address theoretical questions about the nature of learning in context;
the need for approaches to the study of learning phenomena in the real world situations rather than the laboratory;
the need to go beyond narrow measures of learning; and
the need to derive research findings from formative evaluation.
Characteristics of DBR
Integrating known and hypothetical design principles to render plausible solutions;
Conducting rigorous and reflective inquiry to test and refine innovative learning environments;
Intertwined goals of
designing learning environments; and
developing theories of learning.
Research and development through continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign;
Research on designs that must lead to sharable theories that help communicate relevant implications to practitioners and other educational designers;
Research must account for how designs function in authentic settings; and
Development of such accounts relies on methods that can document and connect processes of enactment to outcomes of interest.
Design Research compared to Design-Based Research
Has documentation but for the purpose differently
Not for generalisation
Based on prior research
Has research goals & empirical results
Comprehensive and cumulative documentation that helps retrospective analysis
Action Research compared to Design-Based Research
Both identify real-world problems
Practitioners are both involved in the research process
Come to the tutorial prepared to discuss the differences between Action, Design and Design-Based Research.
Come to the tutorial prepared to discuss how educators can work with researchers to conduct Design-Based Research. Sacha in this video describes his Design-Based Research with a teacher to develop an online learning space educational technology artifact and the reading presents the research of their Design-Based Research study in developing an online community space.
Approaches to presenting Design-Based Research
Design-Based Research is generally presented in a standard structure of literature review, methodology, results, and discussion, with the following among the possible structures.
Come to the tutorial, having watched the Cobb video, prepared to discuss what theories can be produced by Design-Based Research in relation to Educational Technologies research, how these can be generalised to other situations, and what is currently the key weakness of Design-Based Research.
In developing Design-Based Research involving educational technologies interventions, it is useful to understand the scope of what Educational Technologies exist, and from which you can select to explore in your Design-Based Research.
Types of Educational Technologies interventions
There are many types of research conducted on Educational Technologies and you can explore these further in the EduTechWiki.
In this course we will be focusing on a set of research methodologies and methods that can be used to better understand how education technologies can transform education practice in educational organisations. First you will develop a Design-Based Research proposal incorporating Social-Ecological Modelling (that you will explore next week). Then you will use Systems Modelling to develop a theoretical model of the interactions and consequences of your proposed intervention on your educational organisation. You will then explore policy research to develop a set of policies for your educational organisation that will support your proposed transformation, and finally you will present your organisational transformation plan to your course mates. If you are unfamiliar with the range of available Educational Technologies and would like more ideas around which to base your Design-Based Research proposal, the EduTech Wiki may also assist.
Design-Based Research study proposal (Due Monday Week 4)
It is important to remember that you will not be conducting or presenting the outcomes of a Design-Based Research study, you are presenting a proposal for a Design-Based Research study, arguing the benefit of your approach and the outcome you hope to achieve.
Further details of the Design-Based Research study proposal task are available.