23-T5 Domain-specific education and learning

Course coordinators:

  • Dr. Bjorn Wansink (B.G.J.Wansink@uu.nl), Utrecht University – History Education, Graduate School of Teaching (GST)
  • Dr. Michiel Veldhuis (m.veldhuis@uu.nl), Utrecht University – Freudenthal Institute – Mathematics education
  • 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.
Day 1:  February 9th  introduction, physically together
10.00-11.15        Bjorn Wansink Introduction – Connecting general and domain- Specific.   
11.15-11.30       Discussion prepared by participants (Task 2)   
11.30-12.15        Nienke Nieveen. Curriculum Design   
12.15-12.30        Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
12.30-13.30       Lunch
13.30-14.15        Jantien Smit, Design based research & mathematics
14.15-14.30        Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)
14.30-15.00       Reflection on the use of theory in own research (group assignment)
15.00-16.00       Group assignment (preparation for Task 4)

  Day 2: February 10th  Transitions between domains: physically together   
10.00-10.45       Hanneke Tuithof: Pedagogical Content Knowledge   
10.45-11.15       Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
11.15-12.00       Tine Béneker: Powerful knowledge   
12.15-12.30       Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
12.30-13.30       Lunch   
13.30-14.30       Karen Könings, co-creatie
Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
14.30-16.00      Group assignment (preparation for Task 4)

  Day 3: March 16th  Methods of domain-specific research; physically together   
10.00-10.45     Gerhard Stoel: measuring and conceptualizing (domain specific) epistemologies.   
10.45-11.00      Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
11.00-11.45      Michelle Verheijden: Nominal Group Techniques                           
Romina de Lima-van Gent: Picture books   
11.45-12.00      Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
12.15-13.00      Lunch     
13.00-14.15      Frans van Dam: how to communicate your research   
14.15-14.30      Discussion: prepared by participants (Task 2)   
14.30-16.00      Discussion of Task 3 (in 2 parallel sessions): reflection on
                           methods applied in own research. (Break Out Rooms). 

Day 4:  March 17th relation theory – practice; physically together   
10.00-10.45       Marieke van der Schaaf; Expertise development in medical education;
methods and challenges.   
10.45-11.15      Group discussion about …   
11.15-12.15      presentations 1   
12.15-13.15        Lunch   
13.15-14.30       Presentations 2                  
14.30-15.00         Closing  


[1] Please note. Due COVID-19 circumstances the face-to-face meetings might be canceled. In that case we will organize the meetings online using Microsoft Team.

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.

Maximum number of participants: 15

Location: Vergadercentrum Vredenburg, Vredenburg 19, Utrecht