Preliminary Investigation P+C+A

This is the second phase of the research. The idea in this phase is to do 4 main activities.

  1. A focused literature review of relevant theory regarding the topic we are addressing
    1.a) Reading of 3 papers regarding epistemological theory about DR
    Aim: to understand in depth the concept of design research and how it is conducted. In order to have inputs for the design
    Outcome: From this reading the group put in the comment area the outcome of their work in class. Each group assigned one aspect that is relevant from the literature to come to a better understanding about what is Design Research.
  2. Analyze a promising example that will guide us in our design: Tool Use and the Development of the Function Concept: From Repeated Calculations to Functional Thinking  (Doorman, et al., 2012)
    2.a) Reading an article about a research conducted under DR approach.  The aim of the research was designing a learning intervention in mathematics education for secondary school in the Netherlands.
    Aim of the reading: To see how to derive the design principles and how to do the match between the theoretical framework  and the design principles as starting points for designing the learning intervention
    Outcome: The transcription of the interview.  We bold some quotes relevant to our work
  3. Analyze practical context: We did it in our group in an informal way. Looking for particularities of our context (the context is our working group in the summer school)
  4. Talk to experts and practitioners: There were 4 interviews conducted by our group. Experts:
    Frans van Galen : Expert disigner
    Paul DrijversExpert researcher. One of the authors of the inspiring example. Link to his interview. You can hear his interview also opening the file in the box.net widget at the end of this page.
    Michiel DoormanExpert researcher and designer. One of the authors of the inspiring example. Link to his talk in class or opening the file in the box.net widget
    Paulina  and Daniel van den Bergen: Master students at FIsme
    Outcomes: The extracts relevant to our interests and from there we are taking decisions regarding the design of the product. It has been interesting hearing about the difficulties doing DR.  It is our intention to see in which way our product can help to overcome such difficulties.

We extract some relevant quotes to the learning of DR and its difficulties:

From P. Drijvers’ interview:
Difficulties in DR:
1. Generalizing: Are the findings context independent?  I would say not really.
2. Communication: Making explicit what is implicit in the researchers’ mind so others can understand, check, agree or disagree, criticize, improve his/her work. A researcher can have nice theoretical ideas in her/his head but she/he has also many other things to do with teacher, students, gathering data, analyzing it, etc. How do you match this 2 aspects? When working alone all is going on in the head of the researcher and he needs to make it explicit so others can collaborate.
3. Some tension between the goals of the teacher and the one of the researcher.
4. To connect theoretical ideas with the rest of the research ( math content, tasks, observations, analysis of data, reflecting, refining, retesting). When all those aspects are well aligned the researcher knows what to look at beforehand, having the reasons for doing so.
Design Research as well as theory should work for us, not the other way around. 

Michiel Doormans’ talk:

Carolina: Is designing an issue of steps, the principles show you the how to design, the sequence to follow?

Doorman: It is not as you have the principles and you design the task and then you go back to the principles and design the next one. It is not as linear as that. You need to know the kind of process-reasoning you like to evoke and think the kind of principles you are based with, and then you design something accordingly and at a certain moment you show your product, because it is very difficult to be critical on your own design…

To criticize your design you need to get the answers from your principles. You need to be very careful that what they do not understand is referring to one of your DP and not to some external variable (Use of complicated sentences, using symbols that they did not learn yet, etc)

Christo: Resuming about the design principles from what I have heard so far:

1. Generate thinking that makes them receptive towards what you want them to learn later. With the intermediate step activities
2. Emergent Modeling: You provide them with the model of arrow chain because it is a step in between of what they know and where you want them to go.
3. Tool instrumentation: You do paper+pencil activities so yo can be sure that when they are working with the computer tool they are not showing you that they understand because of what the tool does but because of their understanding of the concept.
The design principles determine the results of your design? 
Doorman: Not completely! I cannot quantify it, but I would guess 20% is guided by the main design principles and 80% comes from your creativity.
In your hypothetical learning trajectory you describe your hypothesized learning process you want them to achieve. There you have to be as precise as possible in connecting what you expect to this principles as they guide your design and hope this principles are explanatory for what is happening and for will happen. So when it goes different then from what you hypothesized, you can see what the design can learn from it, how it informs your design regarding those 3 starting points, the 3 design principles. Is it connected to them? Or did they not understand because of something totally unrelated to the design (complicated use of language, a large group, etc). So this will not say much about the accuracy of your design principles.
Connecting the understanding or not understanding to the design principles
The understanding of the students must inform you about the good use of the design principles. They are important for the way they describe the hypothesized learning process.

Bonus activity: Doing a critical reading of an article

I have come across with an interesting list of questions to ask to my self while reading an article. I think it will be useful for us to do this exercise as a group and come to a final product of the reading. Be creative in what form will this final product look like. It could be a video, a tutorial, a wiki space, a page or what ever you feel inspired to do.
The article is one in mathematics education, it is about a research that was done here in the Freudenthal Institute by a group of researchers.  Both documents, the list of questions and the article (Doorman et Al, 2012) are in our box.net.
Outcome:  The outcome was a critical review of the article done by the group, but there was no time in the sessions to do it.

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12 thoughts on “Preliminary Investigation P+C+A

  1. What is Design Research? Design research is a research methodology (mainly qualitative) that entails both theoretical and pragmatic parts aiming to understand how the learning processes develop. It is a cyclic/iterative process which is conducted to develop theories.

  2. How do we do design research?
    1. Identifying the problem.
    ( Putting a research problem and clarifing it)
    2. Investigating of problem, context and approach.
    (In this phase you consult with experts, practitionars, other researcher. You also review the literature, analyze promising example to see whether they are useful for you)
    3. Producing a tentative products/approaches/ tentative principles/methods

    4. Succesive approximation of theory.
    (In this phase you refine your problem/solution/products. To do that you have to do some formative evaluation, make and get some reflections. According to your evaluation you make refinement. If necessary you change your tentative product/theory/problem/solution etc. Then you go back to previous stages. This phase can make you to go into a cyclic period like going back and passing the previous stages again.)

    5. You get a practical result/ you can construct a theory or make contribution to a theory.

  3. Justification of its use (Which questions does design research answer?)
    1. To understand the interaction between essential factors that have potential to affect the learning process.
    2. To foster or develop students’ understanding during the process
    3. To improve theoretical accounts of learning and teaching by creating more complex knowledge
    4. To get local applied understanding, which is specific to its own context.

  4. Design research has four distinctive features. The first feature is the purpose of design. The purpose of the design is to develop a class of theories about the process of learning in different contexts e.g. a classroom, professional teaching community, a school and a school district as an organization. These theories should be about why the design is fostering particular ways of learning in a specific context and is also described as local theories. The second feature is its’ highly interventionist nature. This means that an environment in which the learning is studied is being created. The third feature is the cyclical iterative process. This process includes several stages: design, enactment, analysis and redesign. The fourth feature is the prospective and reflective elements during the different cycles. The researcher should have a certain prospective about the hypothesized learning trajectory and after each cycle reflect on the learning that took place to refine the prospected hypothesized learning trajectory.

  5. what we got from the interview with Paulina;

    —Most design research begin with practical problem (like certain difficulties, understanding.)
    —Then you tryto find out educational solution educational strategy.
    (in design based research you try to between theory and practice)

  6. —Most design research begin with practical problem (like certain difficulties, understanding.)
    —Then you tryto find out educational solution educational strategy.
    (in design based research you try to make link between theory and practice)
    here you begin with searching literature. then you try develop some theory which you think that might help your trejectory)
    —Then you go to implement that theory as instructional material (which is quite hard). You have to design material which is creative process)
    —Then you have to report about it on scientific way.

    The main difference between other research type and DR;
    main difference is DR helps both theory and practice.
    At the end you can add something to litareture and also help to teacher.

  7. Interview with Frans van Galen (Christo and Ratu Ilma)

    What is the difference between a Designer and a Design Researcher?

    The two are very similar but in essence one can say that the Designer does not have to justify their decisions as rigorously as the Researcher. The outcome for the Researcher is an answer to “How to design”, while the outcome for the Designer is a design that has the required effect on changing learning in the children.

    The best is to be both Designer and Researcher. If you are also the designer of the activity under investigation you know why you chose it and you have done the Hypothetical Learning Trajectory, so in your observation of the activity you are already looking at it from the viewpoint of “What is happening”, “Is this what I predicted?”, “How could/should I change it in order to align hypothetical and real trajectory?” (prospective and reflective analysis).

    Put in the most basic terms the process is
    1) Finding an interesting activity, and
    2) Making an HLT about what will happen when you implement the activity.
    3) In retrospective analysis you compare actual with hypothetical learning trajectory and this informs modifications of the activity for subsequent iterations.

    The biggest difficulty in designing the activity is to put yourself in the mind of the child to try and predict what will be the outcome. And then to compare the actual with the hypothetical learning trajectory in order to make decisions about changes in the next iteration.

  8. Second Session of the working group about Design Research

    The teacher started by revising and recalling what was done in the previous session where we made a brain storming about design research, gave her some written ideas and decided to know more about the issue, this latter is considered to be the identification of the problem which forms phase1.

    The teacher announced us that this session will be devoted to ‘how to design a product that supports the learning we want’. This product is already designed to be the blog that we all have seen before and that we suppose to fill before the end of the summer school.
    Design Research is pragmatic when it comes to the design aspect, where a final product is to be designed and developed, and theoretical because it can yield to a empirically based and theory driven instructional “local” theory.

    Then we moved to design principles to start phase 2 which consists of the literature review on design research
    We had to define four principal elements for this phase.

    What is it? how to do it? Justification of its use features
    (nature of the concept) (stages), model (linked to research question) (characterizations)

    We have split into four groups of five students, each designed to respond to one of these elements during twenty minutes in light of two papers given by the teacher (Design-based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry and Design experiments in educational research). Each group has to put his final result in the blog before the next session that will take place after two days on next Friday. During the time the groups were working, many students discussed with the teacher some more about design research to clarify better this concept and make sure that they got it well.
    PS: just to recall you for next time about the paper you gave that we didn’t deal with: some learning theories to derive the design principles.

  9. Interview with Paul Drijvers about the dífficulties of Design Research

    There are three main difficulties that both experts and practitioners have; generalization problem, connection between theory and practice, the role of the researcher in the design research. The first difficulty is that it is difficult to generalize the findings of the study since it involves particular goal’particular teacher or particular students etc. The second difficulty is that it requires linking theoretical idea, mathematical content, tasks, observations, and analysis of the findings. In particular, it requires mathematical analysis, didactical-pedagogical analysis in which practitioners also have difficulty in. The third main difficulty is that teachers mostly behave such a way that researchers want to do since they sees them as the experts. Finally, design research involves complex process and require more time. To conclude, desing research should work for use, not the inverse, as Paul emphasized.

  10. Talk with Michiel Doorman about Design Principles

    In designing their intervention to develop the function concept from repeated calculation to functional thinking the group had 3 main design principles that informed the final design:

    Principle 1: Start with one or two situations that get the learners to think in a way that will link with what is to be introduced to them later on.

    This found expression in the initial Cellphone offer task.

    Principle 2: Emergent modeling (idea about “model for” and “model to”).

    The arrow chains representation was a step between going from repeated calculations to a description with formulas, graphs, etc. (From the experience of the researchers this works well).

    Principle 3: Instrumentation theory

    To avoid the problem of the computer technology hiding misunderstanding of the concept, paper and pencil tasks were included before hand.

    The Hypothetical Learning Trajectory should be as explicit as possible in connecting expectation to principles, so that one can say, if the desired outcomes were not reached, what the reason was. Was it because of the failure of one of the principles or another reason (e.g. moving through the material too fast, or using too complicated sentences, etc.)

  11. Justification of its use (Which questions does design research answer?)
    depend on research question:
    1. How to understanding what we do in DR
    2. How to collecting data in DR, and
    3. How to method in DR

    1. i would add to this what kind of research question can design research address. Think about the function of research. Explanatory, exploratory, descriptive, comparative, normative.

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