19-T6 Educational design research

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course coordinators/tutors
Susan McKenney, susan.mckenney@utwente.nl
Saskia Brand-Gruwel, saskia.brand-gruwel@ou.nl

Course description:
Design research is a genre of inquiry in which the iterative development of solutions to problems in practice provides the setting for scientific inquiry. To conduct ecologically valid studies that also yield relevant and usable solutions, design research is carried out together with practitioners in authentic learning settings not laboratories. Researchers and practitioners collaborate to analyze the problems being tackled, and to develop and refine solutions, which are informed by (formative) evaluation along the way. In these studies, the function of the investigator is typically multifaceted, including the roles of: consultant/facilitator, designer, and researcher. While most design researchers are afforded formal opportunities to develop their research skills (e.g. through seminars and courses on research design, interview techniques, data analysis, etc.), the consultant/facilitator and designer skills receive far less explicit attention and tend to be learned informally, at best.

This course focuses primarily on understanding the tasks required of each role and in each phase of design research. Secondarily, attention is given to key competencies design researchers must develop to serve the work within and across each role. If sufficient participants desire, some of the course time will be allotted to practicing elements of the work within a particular phase (e.g. doing or critiquing design).

Consistent with the design research approach, this workshop is responsively grounded. Prior to its start, data will be collected on participant concerns, background, and own cases. These will help shape the specific activities undertaken during the face-to-face time.

Course objectives:
Students completing this course will be able to:
§ Engage in informed debate about the warrants and risks of design research
§ Identify the main activities and outcomes of the key phases of design research
§ Describe the three roles design researchers take on and cross-cutting skills needs by all
§ Articulate how a given study (their own or that of a fellow researcher) maps onto a generic model for design research, and outline a research proposal for one phase

Requirements/entry level: No requirements

Course Programme

The course will start with a two-day f-2-f session and end with a two-day f-2-f session. During the course, an online meeting will be organized featuring brief participant presentations and discussion.

Specification of the workload: 

reading literature – 20 hours*
attendance sessions -28 hours (2 x 2 days)
analyzing and reflection on best practices – 12 hours
working on application project -18 hours
poster presentation – 6 hours

*The textbook falls well within the range of time required when calculated using a conservative estimate of 100wpm: 100x60x20=120,000 words max. The textbook is less than 120,000 words. Further, 3 chapters are optional and at least 10,000 words are references. One handbook chapter is also optinal.

F2F-1: 21/22 March
Online poster session: 12 April
F2F-2: 25/26 April


26 April: Studiecentrum OU

Maximum number of participants: 24 participants is maxAssessment: 
The pass/fail assessment will be given on the basis of the participant’s:
– Deconstruction of and reflection on one example of an inspiring practice.
– Mapping of the overall process and proposal for one phase
– Poster presentation

Participants will receive verbal plenary feedback on their deconstruction and reflection of inspiring practices. They will receive individual verbal feedback from both peers and facilitators on the poster. They will receive individual written feedback from both peers and facilitators on their proposal.

McKenney, S. & Reeves, T. (2018). Conducting Educational Design Research. London: Routledge.
* if available, 2018 (2nd Ed.), else 2012

Required reading (before the course): 
Chapters 1-3

Required reading (during the course): 
Chapter 4-7

Further literature (optional): 
Chapters 8-10Also (available electronically): 
McKenney, S. & Brand-Gruwel, S. (2018). Roles and competencies of educational design researchers: One framework and seven guidelines. In J. M. Spector, B. B. Lockee & M. D. Childress (Eds.), Learning, design, and technology. An international compendium of theory, research, practice, and policy. London: Springer.