What is it about?

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How can studies be conducted to serve educational practice and scientific understanding simultaneously?
The Masterclass, How to Conduct Educational Design Research offers an introduction to one genre of inquiry that strives to address this concern.

Many education professionals have an interest in research, whether it is to inform their own practice, improve the quality of teaching in their institutions or simply to learn. Yet for the majority, research activities and research findings are difficult to put to use. Research activities are often beyond reach of practicing educators because they require extensive amounts of time and specialized expertise. Research findings remain inaccessible often because they are written in complex language, hidden in obscure journals, conducted on topics that seem hardly relevant, and yield inconclusive findings. While educators can and do work to use research processes and insights, those who do frequently struggle with balancing rigor and relevance. This course is about a kind of research that does not prioritize one (research or rigor) above the other, but rather seeks both simultaneously.

Ultimately, educational research should be in the service of educational practice.  To reach this goal, many researchers are now turning toward design studies to explore how to use and apply emerging theories on, e.g. curriculum development, learning and instruction. Educational design research blends scientific investigation with systematic development and implementation of solutions to educational problems. Empirical investigation is conducted in real learning settings – not laboratories – to craft usable and effective solutions. At the same time, the research is carefully structured to produce theoretical understanding that can serve the work of others. Educational design research requires interaction and collaboration between various stakeholders. 

This module presents design research as a genre of scientific inquiry. In so doing, students will be challenged to discover how design researchers tackle their daunting tasks and and cope with common dilemmas associated with this powerful yet challenging approach. Students completing this course will be able to:

-               Engage in informed debate about the warrants and risks of design research

-               Describe similarities and differences across design studies

-               Determine how design research might (or not) serve their own contexts

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