Foci – Design-based Research (DBR) Proposal: the forming of an idea

In pondering a direction for my ‘Design-based Research Proposal’ it first became clear that I had no idea what actually constituted a DRP.  In order to make an informed decision it was off to the USQ Library Databases for me!  [A short side note – if you haven’t check out the ‘EdITLib’ database it is well worth a look.]  I personally found this article helpful – ‘A Journey Through A Design-Based Research Project’.  Cotton, Lockyer and Brickell’s 2009 project is clearly explained and what is more, it is Australian! As too this web site , and home of the following quote:

[T]hree aspects constitute design-based research: “(a) a design process is essentially iterative starting from the recognition of the change of the environment of praxis, (b) it generates a widely usable artefact, (c) and it provides educational knowledge for more intelligible praxis.”  (Juuti and Lavonen, 2006)

So if my understanding of this phase of the course is correct, I need to, after consideration of current literature in and around the focus of this proposal;

  1. Identify a practice/skill requiring development within the control group.
  2. Develop something to assist in that development (eg: support material), which can continue to be used as an ongoing reference after the project’s completion.
  3. Design (and implement?) a means of seeking feedback from the control group to refine and develop support material.
  4. Indicate how data will (would?) be collected and collated to show how Step 2 impacted upon the development of the identified practice/skill.

The result of which should, hopefully, be an increase in the uptake and continue implementation of the practice/skill identified.

I hope I have this right!  I appreciate that my understand may well be over simplified but I am banking on the fact that we will hopefully be exploring Design-Based Research methodology in more depth as this course progresses.  A least I have a starting point!

One thing that has always interested me is how different teacher response to the introduction of new ideas.  It is fair to say that, on the whole, I am an early adopter.  I am prepared to give anything a go, but will tend to keep in my toolbox only what works or enhances my practice, based on the outcomes for my students.  I do not believe in throwing the baby out with bath water, nor adopting the latest trends at the expense of good practice.  So while I may be an early adopter, whether I up-take an idea and add it to my ‘Teacher Toolbox’ really depends on how the implementation holds up in my own classroom testing.

What surprises me, in looking at many of my colleagues, a large number of whom have been teaching as long, if not longer than I have, they seem reluctant to embrace ideas that force them to step outside their comfort zones.  They sit through hours of Professional Development sessions, nodding their heads in agreement, only to return to their classrooms and continue doing things the way that they have always done.  When pressed with deadlines for implementation by administration they will tend to seek out trusted colleagues to confess their failings and see assistance as opposed to raising these with administrators driving the implementation.  Concerned perhaps that judgments will be made about them as teachers if they say they do not understand, or worse express concerns or difficulties regarding implementation.  I have found this to be particularly prevalent when implementations are centred around technology.

I have decided to use this as my inspiration for Assignment 2.


In many schools, Learning Management Systems (LMS) are beginning to surface as a means of responding to the increasing need for more flexible and individualised learning opportunities for students.  The more cynical may argue these changes concern public perception, the need to be seen making e-learning innovations. In the early stages of implementation, teachers are often just asked to ‘put their courses/resources online’.  While inservicing usual occurs around how to upload course material etc, little is often known by the teacher about what the purpose of the LMS really means to them.  Many are skeptical that schools are just looking to reduce teacher numbers.  Others are concerned about sharing their resources and the equity issues that emerge when one teacher has ‘done all the work’ and other merely need ‘to do nothing’ just access the resources from the repository.  There is also the issue of ownership of ideas and learning materials created and creative licensing.  The result of all this is often a feeling of distrust which culminates in many teachers ‘holding back’ from the process.

Is my hope then that might project might centre around managing change as a means of increasing teacher uptake of online technology.  Whether this research centres around adapting to a Learning Management System itself or rather how to develop effective course online, with the LMS merely the vehicle through which this can be in teaching practice/pedagogy can be achieved is still undecided.  I am learning towards the later as I believe shifting the focus away from the LMS and focusing back on developing good practice may assist teachers is seeing a place for this new technology in their ‘toolbox’.

I look forward to hearing from some of you (especially those with more experience with DRP) as to what you think of the idea and whether it does provide a solid foundation upon which a Design-Based Research Project can be built.



by-nc-sa Image by Cliff Muller

(In line with licensing requirements,  I acknowledge the modification of the addition of text to the original photograph)


3 responses to “Foci – Design-based Research (DBR) Proposal: the forming of an idea

  1. G’day Anne, The first week of Module 2 will look at DBR in more detail. You’ve got a reasonable idea of what it is. Though I did wonder where “control group” came from. That sounds very much like a hang over from a quantitative researcher (have you been talking to Mark?). I’m more of a fan of a form of DBR that has moved away from some of the assumptions of quantitative research. David.


  2. Pingback: Part C of catching up on NGL | The Weblog of (a) David Jones

  3. Pingback: Assignment 2 – Peer Review | EVEN ELMO'S GOT A MOBILE

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