Practitioners conducting educational design research: Tales of tension and triumph

  • Susan McKenney - Jensh (Keynote speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


    Educational design research is a genre of inquiry in which the design of innovative solutions to problems in educational practice provides the context for scientific investigation, yielding results that can also inform the work of others. Educational design research is theoretically-oriented (it uses existing theoretical insights to frame both research and development, and strives to contribute scientific understanding); interventionist (it aims to improve practice); collaborative (it requires multiple participants and varied expertise); responsively grounded (the findings from one phase influence subsequent directions); and iterative (it anticipates multiple cycles of inquiry and action). Practitioners are inherently involved in educational design research, most often in reactive roles, though sometimes as co-designers and occasionally as researchers. While rare, practitioners may also function as lead investigators in design studies. Due to the scope and complexity of educational design research, it presents a tremendous challenge. This is because it requires access to and fluency in multiple areas of literature (e.g. educational innovation, research methods, and the topic of inquiry); a diverse skill set (e.g. educational researcher, intervention designer, implementation facilitator); and – to do it well – substantial amounts of time. For those not able to devote major portions of their time to the effort (e.g. due to teaching load), the task may be insurmountable. Yet, despite the challenges, use of this approach is increasing. Powerful collaborations in multidisciplinary teams have been central to successful design studies. This presentation shares several examples of design research in which practitioners led in co-design and/or research roles, highlighting both struggles and successes as related to various functions (e.g. investigator, designer, implementer, reporter). It concludes with a call for those interested in design research to seek ways to understand, appreciate and support each function, acknowledging that individuals have varying affinities for the different tasks required.
    PeriodNov 2013
    Event titleEuropean Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (EAPRIL) Conference 2013
    Event typeConference
    LocationBiel/Bienne, SwitzerlandShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionInternational