IDT 873: Design-Based Research

IDT873 Maddrell Design Research Abstract

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IDT 873 Abstract: Design Based Research Jennifer Maddrell Wang, F., & Hannafin, M. (2005). Design-based research and technology-enhanced learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(4), 5-23. doi: 10.1007/BF02504682. Overview Wang and Hannafin (2005) review theory and practice of design-based research (DBR), which fosters concurrent design, research, and practice, as a methodology for technologyenhanced learning environments (TELEs). Following a review of proposed models, Wang and Hannafin suggest DBR’s iterative, participative and situated processes as a means of forwarding instructional design research, theory, and practice. Definition and Characteristics Wang and Hannafin assess the various conceptions of DBR, including design experiments, design research, development research, and formative research. Given the varied emphasis across these conceptions, Wang and Hannifin offer a working definition of DBR within their paper, including “a systematic but flexible methodology aimed to improve educational practices through iterative analysis, design, development and implementation, based on collaboration among researchers and practitioners in real-world settings, and leading to a contextually-sensitive design principles and theories.” Their conception of DBR includes five key characteristics, including being (a) pragmatic (linking theory, research, and practice), (b) grounded (anchored in theories of learning and instruction, as well as real-world contexts) (c) interactive / iterative / flexible between researchers, designers, and practitioners, (d) integrative (blending a host of analysis and evaluation methods), and (e) contextual (localized results linked to prior observations and articulated in the form of heuristics to advance both theory and practice). Heuristics for Designers and Researchers Wang and Hannifin offer DBR principles which parallel many traditional ID activities, including formative and summative evaluation practices. A key distinction between ID evaluation and DBR is the eye toward theory development and the forwarding of generalizable, yet contextually influenced, design principles. However, the incorporation of theory development goals shifts the focus of the traditional ID evaluation approach. Instructional design plans do not have theory development as a central goal which may significantly alter the scope and methodology of the instructional design and evaluation process. The added time to collect and analyze data may interfere with the goal of ID efficiency. Critique An intriguing element of DBR is the synergy of research and instructional design practice within real-world instructional settings. DBR offers a means of placing the instructional design evaluation of a single intervention within a broader context of prior similar evaluations. However, a risk of a DBR approach is the “look what I did last summer” report of localized findings. Therefore, the ability to ground the evaluated instruction in prior theory and research and to offer valid findings which are generalizable beyond the specific instructional setting seems central to the DBR versus traditional research debate. Wang and Hannafin frame this within a discussion of meta-design knowledge and context-based knowledge which they note must transcend the specific design. Submitted: November 20, 2008