Design-Based Research as a Methodology for Studying Learning in the Context of Work: Suggestions for Guidelines

Design-Based Research as a Methodology for Studying Learning in the Context of Work: Suggestions for Guidelines

Ditte Kolbaek (Aalborg University, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4094-6.ch002

Abstract

This chapter presents a suggestion for design-based research (DBR) as a methodology for organizational studies. Although DBR was developed for investigating classroom training, this chapter discusses the methodological issues that are involved when DBR is employed for investigating learning in the context of work. DBR seems to be suitable in this complex context as it is an authentic learning environment. The purpose of this chapter is to provide new perspectives on DBR, including suggestions for guidelines regarding how to conduct DBR for studying learning from experience in the context of work. The research question is: What is needed to utilize DBR to explore learning from experience in the context of work? The theoretical framework is based on Yrjö Engeström and John Dewey's work on learning, and the exploration of DBR is based on a literature review and findings in a seven-year DBR study on learning from experience in the context of work.
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Background

Authors use different terms to describe DBR, including “design research,” “development research,” “design experiments,” and “design studies” (Anderson & Shattuck, 2012; Andriessen, 2007). However, this chapter only will use the term “design-based research” (DBR), which was introduced by Ann Brown in 1992. DBR is different from Design Science Research (DSR), which focuses on the design of objects, processes (making and using objects), and reflection and evaluation of object design (Winter, 2008). The “object” of DBR is “learning” in the classroom, as DBR is used for solving educational design problems, not design problems in general (Collins 2010).

DBR is not a well-defined methodology; rather, it is a combination of processes leading to knowledge about learning designs, in the form of qualitative and quantitative data (Collins, Joseph, & Bielaczyc, 2004). Wang and Hannafin (2005) define DBR this way: DBR is a systematic, but flexible, methodology aimed to improve educational practices through iterative analysis, design, development, and implementation, based on collaboration among researchers and practitioners in real-world settings, and leading to contextually sensitive design principles and theories (Wang & Hannafin 2005, p. 6).

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