21-T6 Conducting Educational Design Research

Theme group: T6: Educational design and curriculum development
Tutors: Susan McKenney & Ruben Vanderlinde

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 through three main phases of work, to analyze the problems being tackled; to develop and refine solutions; and to ensure that these are informed by (formative) evaluation along the way. For example, topics tackled by previous participants in this course include:  a video coaching routine to support early career teacher reflection; national and local ICT policy implementation in Chinese schools; design principles for teaching text structure in relation to primary school science learning.

In these studies, the function of the investigator is typically multifaceted, including the roles of:  consultant, designer, and researcher. For example, investigators in these studies often: help practitioners to identify and articulate their contextual knowledge (consultant); structure the design process as well as the designed solutions (designer); and rigorously evaluate the effectiveness, practicality, or relevance of solutions (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 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 fine-tune 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
  • Articulate how a given study (their own or that of a fellow researcher) maps onto a generic model for design research, informed by deconstruction and reflection of inspiring practices
  • Write a proposal or report of an actual (sub-study within a) case of educational design research
  • Describe the three roles design researchers take on and cross-cutting competencies needed by all
  • Reflect on one’s own existing and desired EDR competencies, and plan for growth, accordingly

Set up of the course
The course will start with a two-day f-2-f session and end with a two-day f-2-f session.
Dates and location:
– March 4/5 – Zalencentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht (Vredenburg 19, Utrecht)
– April 29/30 – Cursus- en vergadercentrum Domstad (Koningsbergerstraat 9, Utrecht) https://www.accommodatiedomstad.nl/routebeschrijving/

During the course, an online asynchronous discussion will be organized featuring brief participant presentation of digital posters (audio required, video optional) as well as peer feedback/discussion.
Tentative dates: April 1-2

Assignment due dates:

  • Online poster presentation: March 30
  • Online poster feedback/discussion: April 5
  • Written personal reflection: June 6
  • Written essay (proposal or report): June 6

Go to the course registration form

Max. number of participants: 20