Revisiting the link between teaching and learning research and practice: Authentic learning and design-based research
Herrington, J. (2010) Revisiting the link between teaching and learning research and practice: Authentic learning and design-based research. In: International Association for Scientific Knowledge (IASK) International Conference Teaching and Learning, 29 November - 1 December 2010, Seville, Spain.
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It has often been argued that research in teaching and learning has only a weak link to practice. Much educational research is criticised for having little relevance to the day-to-day learning experience of students in K-12 and higher education. This criticism is particularly relevant in relation to educational technology research. In this field, many researchers conduct studies that are designed to test the effectiveness of the delivery medium—to prove that one medium is better than another—rather than exploring ways to improve instructional approaches and tasks. With the current proliferation of exciting and innovative technologies that are likely to become more and more common in classrooms (such as cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices), research needs to move beyond simple comparisons of these devices with each other, or with the ‘traditional’ approach. In this presentation, I will argue that educational technology research has largely failed to change educational practice and outcomes because of the predominant aim of such research to prove rather than improve. Online and mobile technologies afford the design and creation of truly innovative authentic learning designs, where the technology is both a tool and a platform for presentation of genuine products, and the focus is on learning with technologies rather than from them. Instead of comparative research, a more powerful and appropriate approach is design-based research, where researchers and practitioners work hand in hand to iteratively refine innovations until they get the results they seek. A description of the characteristics of design-based research will be given, together with an argument for the more widespread adoption of this approach to enhance the quality and impact of research in teaching and learning.
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