Educational Design Research for Oracy Development: Why, What and How?

Educational design research is a genre of study in which the iterative development of solutions to practical and complex educational problems provides the setting for scientific inquiry. The solutions can be educational products, processes, programs or policies. Educational design research not only targets solving significant problems facing educational practitioners, but at the same time it seeks to discover new knowledge that can inform the work of others facing similar problems. Working systematically and simultaneously toward these dual goals is perhaps the most defining feature of educational design research. The process typically ensues in multiple iterations of analysis and exploration; design and construction; and evaluation and reflection. When structured well, insights from each phase are valuable in their own right, and also contribute to the overall goals of the study. This presentation seeks to clarify the nature of educational design research by considering its origins, elaborating its characteristics, and sharing a detailed example related to oracy development.

Susan McKenney is professor of teacher professionalisation, school development and educational technology at ELAN, the Department of Teacher Professional Developmentwithin the Faculty of Behavioural and Management Sciences at Twente University. She is also the programme director of Twente’s Educational Science and Technology master’s programme, and of Pro-U, the in-service education programme for teachers. Her research focuses on understanding and facilitating the interplay between curriculum development and teacher professional development, and often emphasises the supportive role of technology in these processes. As such, she also studies synergetic research-practice interactions. Since educational design research lends itself to such synergies, her writing and teaching often provide ideas about how to conduct this exciting form of inquiry. Her book, Conducting Educational Design Research (co-authored with Tom Reeves), is now in its 2nd edition.