23-T5 Domain-specific education and learning

Course coordinators:

  • Dr. Arthur Bakker (A.Bakker4@uu.nl), Utrecht University, Freudenthal Institute – Mathematics Education
  • Dr. Bjorn Wansink (B.G.J.Wansink@uu.nl), Utrecht University – History Education, Graduate School of Teaching (GST)
  • Romina de Lima-van Gent (r.delima@essb.eur.nl), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Literacy
  • Michelle Verheijden (m.verheijden@maastrichtuniversity.nl) Maastricht University – Medical education

Research within the area of learning and education often takes place within a specific domain. Important research questions focus on learning and teaching of domain-specific ways of reasoning and problem solving. Within these domains many innovations have been implemented over the last few decades because of new insights into learning and teaching, but also because the subject matter that is taught within these different domains is updated or because the professional or social environment in which the knowledge and skills are meaningful has changed.

In this course we focus on domain-specific education and learning, at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, in schools and in professional situations, and where relevant other contexts. We discuss theoretical frameworks that domain-specific researchers use so that participants can judge which of these are possibly relevant to their own domain, and explore in what sense their own object of research is an example of a more general phenomenon (e.g., meaningfulness of domain-specific topics for students). Furthermore, we explore different methods being used in domain-specific education research, such as design research, lesson study, process and intervention studies. Finally, we discuss how to develop a fruitful exchange between research and educational practice.

Course objectives

The participants will:

  • Become aware of the commonalities and differences between various traditions of domain-specific research (ranging from early childhood literacy to medical education);  
  • Acquire insight into the types of research questions and theories that play an important role in investigating the acquisition of domain-specific knowledge and skills, and identify which of these are also relevant to the participant’s own domain;
  • Gain deeper understanding of the problem of domain-specific knowledge in the transition between contexts;
  • Acquire insight into research methodologies used within this type of research, particularly in the context of design research, lesson study, intervention studies and process studies;
  • Become acquainted with the work of researchers and staff members within this area;
  • Engage in debate about domain-specific research in relation to more general concerns (e.g., meaningfulness), and how it connects to educational practice.

Requirements/entry level:

This course is recommended for second or third year PhD candidates. First year PhD candidates may participate although it is recommended to first participate in the ICO Introductory course.

Meetings / Preliminary programme:
Day 1:  9 February –  introduction, 10:00-16:00 hours
Arthur Bakker: Connecting general and domain-specific theoretical frameworks   
Discussion prepared by participants (Task 2)   
Monique Verhoeven: what is meaningful education?   
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
Tine Béneker: Geographical awareness.
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)
Reflection on the use of theory in own research (group assignment)
Group assignment (preparation for Task 4)

Day 2: 10 February –  Transitions between domains 10:00-16:00 hours
Bjorn Wansink & Arthur Bakker. Learning and boundary crossing during the design process of cross-curricular work.   
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)
Rick de Graaff: Content- and language integrated learning
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)
Alderik Visser (or Nienke Nieveen): Curricula: general or domain specific?
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)
Group assignment (preparation for Task 4)

Day 3: 16 March –  Methods of domain-specific research, 10:00-16:00 hours
Arthur Bakker: Design research (flipped, add lesson study?)
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)  
Bjorn Wansink: qualitative research (or Geerte Savenije)
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)  
Marieke van der Schaaf; Expertise development in medical education; methods and challenges.   
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)
Discussion of Task 3 (in 2 parallel sessions): reflection on methods applied in own research.

Day 4:  17 March – From theory to practice; 10:00-16:00 hours
NRO (Kennisrotonde): vragen vanuit de praktijk aan de wetenschap
Group discussion about how to bridge the gap between research and practice
How to communicate your research? Training session – find out who..   
Presentations (Task 4)

Maximum number of participants: 15

Location: Utrecht