How do we effectively design digital learning for educational settings, taking account of the rapid changes and innovations in educational technology and emerging, best educational practice and research? How do we systematically effect technology-mediated educational change, informed by the exigencies of our practice contexts yet at the same time inspired by relevant philosophy and theory? One methodology that can help to enable and support this type of educational technology research and development is design-based research (DBR) (Reeves, Herrington & Oliver, 2005).
Inspired and framed by Dewey's idea of 'intelligent experimentation' (1910; 1933), this research presentation outlines a number of examples of DBR in action, across a diverse array of real-world educational contexts. The design innovations to be discussed include: digital storytelling to enhance reflective practice within a graduate teacher education programme; computer-supported collaborative learning in an undergraduate history of education course; mobile learning to augment the teaching of English literature with pupils in secondary schools; the design of video hooks as an innovative, multi-cycle digital intervention in STEM education; and the implementation of systemic change to facilitate and promote '21st Century' learning in an adult and continuing education college. Situated in terms of McKenney & Reeves' (2012) generic, integrative model for educational design research, the presentation addresses each innovation, exemplifying both the products and processes of the DBR in action, and the respective local and general outputs of the technology-enhanced interventions in their emergent, naturalistic contexts of learning. All our design-based research is multi-cycle, involving substantive, accretive iterations of design, deployment and evaluation. Typically, we follow a three-cycle approach, beginning with an exploratory pilot intervention, before scaling up and out to a second, mainstream and a third, capstone deployment.
A key tensive issue in the field of educational technology centres on the interplay of practice and theory in the conceptualisation and refinement of our educational designs, specifically where we are iteratively exploring and utilising the potential of new media and technologies to enhance learning. Our research presentation will specifically address key junctures in our collective, continuing research journey as design-based researchers, and how we have used theorisation and experimentation concurrently to conceptualise, deploy and evaluate our innovations with educational technology. The close working-together of practice and theory has proved critical at all stages of our educational design work, from conceptualisation and ideation, through to deployment and evaluation.
In January of fateful 1916, in his famous educational polemic, The Murder Machine, Pearse called for an education system that would meet the individualised needs of learners, rather than the massified vagaries of economy.
As we mark the centenary of The Easter Rising, our goal in education remains the same, and as design-based researchers specifically: to move beyond the 'readymade' as Pearse called it, and design and develop bespoke, situated designs for educational technology in context.
Beyond the local exigencies of our given learning settings, as design-based researchers, we also aim to contribute to the broader knowledge base of principled, systematic design in the learning sciences. Our talk visualises our contribution to ontological innovation in learning technology design, illustrating the models, frameworks and curricula we have developed, and which other learning technologists and design-based researchers can adopt and adapt to augment learning in cognate educational contexts.