Educational Design Research in the 21st Century

Authored by: William Sandoval

Handbook of Design in Educational Technology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415807340
eBook ISBN: 9780203075227
Adobe ISBN: 9781135118969


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Since the term “design experiments” was coined two decades ago (Collins, 1992), what is now more commonly known as educational design research has moved out of the nascent learning sciences community and into the mainstream of educational research (Levin & O’Donnell, 1999; NRC, 2002; Schoenfeld, 2006). The strengths and weaknesses of the approach have been described and dissected over the last decade, reflecting a tension between advocates for educational design research and observers who worry about the rigor and epistemic standing of the alleged methodology (for example, in Barab, 2004; Kelly, 2003). Historically, educational design research is closely tied to the development of educational technologies, but is currently conducted across a wide range of learning settings, with and without technology. As an approach to studying learning and education, it seems here to stay. Still, two decades in, there remains not inconsiderable confusion over what “it” really is, and, perhaps more importantly, how to do “it.” The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the writing about design research to outline the core features of the approach and discuss core methodological issues to doing design research.

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