Design Research

design, build, reflect, improve, repeat

Design Research as a Practitioner

Hannafin, et. al. discuss the challenges of building constructivist and authentic inquiry classrooms and they emphasize the importance of iterative design as a way to frame teacher improvement from year to year, as well as to meet the challenges of inquiry learning while being able to incorporate elements of direct instruction or objectivist practices. They assert that teaching practices and classroom environments are often mismatched with the stated priorities of a school or a teacher and that such mismatch is prevalent in many kinds of teaching environments, but is especially ubiquitous in those that promote ideals of constructivism. They discuss the idea of grounded design as a possible solution to the problem of mismatch between ideals and praxis. (Hannafin, Hannafin, Land, & Oliver, 2016)

Design refers to the process of planning educational experiences or infrastructures, implementing them, and then building and improving them with the next iteration. Hannafin’s work stresses the importance of making sure that the design is well-aligned with the theory that it purports to utilize in the promotion of student learning, hence the term grounded design. Four conditions to being considered grounded include 1) the design is founded on a “defensible” theoretical framework, 2) chosen methods must be research based in support of the theoretical framework, 3) methods must be generalizable to more than one specific situation and 4) iterative implementation and reflection validate the design.(Hannafin, Hannafin, Land, & Oliver, 2016, p. 104)

These same authors also summarize foundations upon which learning environments are often built, including Psychological, Technological, Cultural, Pedagogical, and other foundations. They propose that assumptions and values within these foundations can be examined and correlated, with compatible concepts taking the foreground in design. Competing educational approaches, such as objectivism and constructivism, “can be well-aligned if linked with their corresponding foundations and assumptions.” (Hannafin, Hannafin, Land, & Oliver, 2016, p. 108)


TEAC 995 Article Notes- March 29th