Posted by: bbannan | February 2, 2011

What is Design Research?

And what does it have to do with me?

Design research is a larger, umbrella term currently being used in educational technology research (which also goes by Design and Development Research) that describes an iterative, data-driven research-based approach to: 1) investigate a teaching/learning or training problem; 2) in order to design and develop a potential solution; 3) and to generate knowledge about the effectiveness of that solution along with insights about teaching/learning and training principles.  See EduTech Wiki’s description of Design-based Research (and its various other names over the years) for more detail http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Design-based_research.

However you define it, I would argue that we were all involved in design research last semester which will continue this semester as we investigate formalizing our methods a bit more in further conceptualizing the AR prototypes, clearly establishing criteria and relevant research/evaluation questions related to our prototypes and testing our ideas with target audience members.

In reading this article, “A Guide for Novice Researchers: Design and Development Research Methods” by Ellis and Levy (https://files.pbworks.com/download/mPQRvpUP5y/edit803spring11/35611109/InSITE10p107-118Ellis725.pdf), it strikes me that they are describing a similar iterative development and user research process that is referred to in Chapter 1-3 of the Kuniavsky textbook.  User research methods, then could be implemented in design research cycles at different points in the process such as when you are generating ideas (like we did last semester in our needs analysis phase, etc.), iteratively building and rebuilding (with surveys, observations, questionnaires, etc.) and putting our ideas in the hands of users to improve the design (with formative evaluation as well as other applied user research methods).

Continuing to focus on the user’s perspective throughout the various phases and cycles of design and development seems to be the central point of both design research and user research methods. Skim through the Ellis and Levy article cited above (and uploaded to the Wiki under Course Resources folder: Week 2) and contribute a comment below as to whether or not you see:

1) Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see and;

2) What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further?

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Responses

  1. 1) Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see and;

    From the readings and your wiki posting it appears to me that design/development research essentially serves as a systematic means of gathering valuable information that enables the design process to remain user centered (ie. relevant based on user needs/perspective). With this in mind, our main focus last semester was on analyzing the affordances of Augmented Reality, and then matching those affordances with the needs of our target audience (ie. highschool home schooled Chemistry students) in order to develop a user relevant prototype. This required design research conducted throughout the performance analysis, needs assessment, task analysis, and persona development in the form of literature review, interviews, and surveys. The collected data allowed us to better understand what the problem areas were for our target audience, and how Augmented Reality might be used to solve those problems. This data directly led us to develop a prototype centered on the user needs (ie. simplifying the Chemistry lab process – cost/logistics, and providing an engaging/“cool” learning experience). In addition, consistent with one of the distinguishing features of design research as indicated in the Ellis and Levy article, we very clearly generated systematic documentation of our findings and the subsequent logic that led to key prototype design decisions. Several times during this analysis and design phase we made adjustments to our original prototype concept based directly on the end user research. In the end, this allowed us to feel confident that our prototype was truly addressing a need, and not just creating a tool without a home.

    2) What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further?

    I clearly see the description of design as an iterative process of research-development-research-development-research-development. So, the question becomes what are the research tools we will employ this semester in order to further refine our prototype. The answer to this question is impacted by the reality that in this semester our prototype will likely not reach a high level of functionality (ie. we will not be able to program the Augmented Reality pour rate algorithms that are essential to providing the user a realistic usability test- at least not without the help of a AR programmer) given our time/funding constraints. Thus, usability testing will be unlikely. However, that does not mean that our prototype cannot be improved based on more feedback (research) from our target audience through more surveys, focus groups, interviews, and contextual inquiry. The biggest barrier will be gaining access to our target audience to conduct these forms of research.

    • I don’t necessarily agree that usability testing is to be unlikely. There are many different types of usability analysis and not all require having either a finished product or a lab environment, as is expected of usability testing. The issue is in determining if the usability testing is effective in looking at the design in this stage, as well as which of these testing techniques we could use.

  2. 1. What interests me about this article is the distinction between design research and product development. As I reflect back on what we did last semester, I do think there are some intersections with what Ellis and Levy describe as design research, however, I feel that most of our projects were closer to product development.

    Referring to last semester’s syllabus, one of the goals of the course was to “understand the process of instructional design and development as applied to a real-world project.” Perhaps it was not an actual requirement of the course, but most of us seemed to want to make a business case for our design solutions, considering the feasibility of implementing them and marketing them to target groups (such homeschoolers, school districts, etc.). Also, maybe the fact that our guest expert, Johan, was clearly interested in commercial applications of AR and tended to look at our projects through that lens steered us in that direction.

    So let’s look at Ellis and Levy’s criteria for defining something as design research and not product development. They say design research must entail the following:

    — addressing an acknowledged problem
    — building upon existing literature
    — making an original contribution to the body of knowledge

    All design is a response to a problem. So clearly there is intersection there.

    As for building upon existing literature, we had a pretty loose definition of what sufficed for data and supporting literature that I’m not sure would stand up to academic standards (as opposed to those required for “real-world” projects). That said, although my group’s project (role-playing civil war activity) did not explicitly build upon much existing academic literature in our documentation, our solution was grounded in constructivist principles and could stand on its own without the additional technical requirement of using AR. Let’s call that potential intersection.

    The third requirement is where I think we did not necessarily intersect and our projects went more in the direction of product development. Was our goal to make an original contribution to the body of knowledge? While I would like to think it’s possible, I don’t think the activities we engaged in last semester were likely to result in new theories, models, or methods and processes. Most of us spent at least half the semester trying to figure out what exactly AR was and how we could possibly do something useful with it in an educational context.

    Comparing this article to the other readings, I think there is a difference between the design research of Ellis and Levy, which is more academic research focused, and that of Maier and Kuniavsky, who appear more concerned with business goals. But then, maybe they’re two sides of the same coin, and one couldn’t exist without the other.

    However, if there are situations where design researchers are working in collaboration with practitioners (designers) to produce design principles in addition to an actual solution (as depicted in the Reeves model on EduTech Wiki), I would be interested to know about them.

    2. Differences aside, there are definitely design research methods that Ellis & Levy discuss that will be useful to us in further refining our prototypes. Surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and observations (usability tests) will hopefully provide valuable information about how the learners will actually interact with our designs. As Jesse mentions, some of these methods may be more difficult than others since we’re basically dealing with “paper” prototypes and some people may have difficulty getting their heads around AR period, much less making the connection with what they see on paper/screen to a real-world scenario. (Well, Group 4 will probably be fine with their amazingly slick prototype.) Maybe this issue of creating an environment conducive to soliciting feedback for this style of prototype is something we should all look at as a class.

  3. 1) Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see and;
    In our PAs, we all uncovered a problem to address and we all developed solutions to these problems with a product. The ability for a solution to address a problem is the main difference between research and just product development. In addition, we continue our researching through data analysis and task analysis to better define our product solutions. Our prototype gave us a starting point to begin some usability testing. Through our PA and other documents thus far, we have done a “systematic documentation of the process that includes a discussion of design choices made, options considered, and rationale…”(p110) Nunamaker identified five major milestones in D & D research. It appears we have started on the first 4 of the five. We have constructed the conceptual framework, developed the system architecture, analyzed and designed the system and built a prototype. I use the word”started” because there is an iterative process we must go through that forces all of us to examine and further define our problem if needed. Also, we will have to further define our solution and then further develop our prototypes
    2) What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further? The article identifies a 6-phase model of D&D and we appear to have walked through the first 3 phases (Identify the problem, describe the objectives and design and develop the artifact). I believe we have just touched on phase 3, but there needs to be far more considerations.

  4. In the articles and Brenda’s blog I understand that Design Research is analyzing and documenting the design process with the goal that ”lessons learned” can be generalized into design principals and applied to other design problems. It is sort of being “the thought behind the thought” of the design process. Kind of a hard concept to wrap your mind around to begin with, but even harder to put into practice. I believe that Ellis/Levy are saying that the researcher has to find where in the current knowledgebase their particular study/problem fits when they state in the article on page 1, “She or he must anchor and position that study in the existing body of knowledge.” And a challenge of research in the design area, unlike more traditional research, is that there are many variables which you cannot control. For instance there is the group dynamics of the design team: are the design decisions being made because of user-related reasons, or is it because of the dynamics of the group? Or the company-culture in which the design is occurring: are design decisions being made because of company-culture (pressure from higher-ups for example) or because it makes sense from a user perspective? The Ellis/Levy articles states, “all research must acknowledge the assumptions, limitations, and delimitations upon which the research is based.” The articles talks to the importance of carefully documenting the limitations of the findings, because of the assumptions or limitations. I think that the challenge in all this, in the technology area, is doing all this with the speed necessary to make sure that your design is still viable by the time the process is finished.

    I see now that our class last semester was a design research environment. We, the students, were involved in the design process and Brenda’s assistants were conducting design research with our groups and projects as the subjects. The students were also involved in design research by documenting the process in the deliverables we submitted, and by evaluating our peers, and therefore the effectiveness of the group. We did research to make sure that we were basing our problem on current data. And we used an iterative user-centered process for the design.

    A couple of things from the Ellis/Levy article that I think we need/or I would like to see used are:

    1. Use the 6-phase design and development research approach, graphically depicted on page 111 of the article. I think it is simple, clear and makes sense, perhaps helping it possible to make sense of the complex.

    2. In the “Test and evaluate” section on page 113 of the article it states that, “The researcher must ensure that the developed prototype is indeed applicable in the proposed context and can demonstrate some viable results in addressing the problem”. I think we need to use this recommendation to continually go back to the user need to make sure that we are satisfying it with our design. In the text book in pages 4-8 Kuniavsky recounts a valuable lesson he learned when, in a project he was involved in, design was done for the sake of being innovative and cutting edge rather than to solve any user problem. It was a beautiful design but a failure in the market place.

  5. 1) Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see

    After examining the design research descriptions from these readings, I see lots of intersection with our design process for last semester. As our group began our Augmented Reality Chemistry prototype, we made sure to identify a problem that is “in general, poorly defined, and complex” (Ellis & Levy pg. 109). Next, we made sure we explored the literature “for a means of placing the study in the context of the existing body of knowledge” (Ellis & Levy pg. 110). From these two processes, we found the context of homechool chemistry students who needed a tool to engage in haptically, in order to make their chemistry educational experiences more meaningful.

    Last semester, in the 6-phase design and development research approach (Ellis & Levy pg. 111), I believe we focused on the first three steps of (a.) Identify the problem, b.) Describe the objectives, and c.) Design and develop the artifact. This process allowed us to develop research questions and develop the objectives for our research and prototype, collect relevant data from members in a target audience, and develop a chemistry AR application prototype that attempted to meet the objectives. One of our objectives that we believe we met was to create a product that addresses the complexity of learning chemistry. Additionally, another objective that we believe we met is to create a product that lets students use their haptic sense to make the subject of chemistry more relevant and in their words “cool” to them.

    Although this process seems linear, we consistently changed directions for our research and design of the product. After examining these readings, I found that the iterative process is an essential component of performing design research in order to best alleviate the complex problem and meet the needs of the target audience.

    2) What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further?

    For this semester, I believe that we will focus more on the next three steps in the in the 6-phase design and development research approach (Ellis & Levy pg. 111), “d.) Test the artifact, e.) Evaluate testing results, and f.) Communicate the testing results.” We did focus on testing the artifact to some extent last semester to ensure it met the requirements we developed in our initial design and development phase. However, this semester, I believe we will focus more on the “validity of the artifact developed in the context of the problem described” (Ellis & Levy pg. 113). The iterative process of the design research process will continue for us as we make alterations to the prototype based on the feedback we receive from some members of the target audience. One design research challenge for us will be to gain access to a representative population of homeschoolers in order to conduct research methods (focus groups, surveys, interviews, etc.).

    Once we gain access to this representative population, we hope to be able to further test and evaluate the results from our prototype and make the necessary changes within the context of the time constraints (e.g 4 month time period for project) and resource constraints (e.g. no AR programming experience within the group). As the EduTech Wiki notes, “There is clearly an action-research oriented perspective, i.e. researchers must try to change things. “ We are aiming to continue to apply the action-oriented design research methodology to our design process, in the hopes of better meeting the needs of our audience.

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    There is a significant intersection between design/development research and what we accomplished last semester in the course. Ellis and Levy (2010, p. 111) discuss a basic 6-phase design and development framework consisting of:

    1) Identify the problem motivating the research
    2) Describe the objectives
    3) Design and develop the artifact
    4) Subject the artifact to testing
    5) Evaluate the results of the testing
    6) Communicate the testing results

    Last semester, our class engaged in steps one through three. We identified a problem and technology (AR) to thoroughly research, conducted a performance analysis and needs analysis to define and describe our objectives, and we used that information to design and develop a prototype (artifact). This semester will focus on the latter three steps of the six phase design and development framework, starting off with testing and feedback of our prototype, evaluation and analysis of the results, and communicating the results to contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

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    To progress our prototype further this semester, it is important that we ensure our artifact meets the functionalities and requirements that we outlined in the earlier phases of the design and development research process. As Ellis and Levy state, “the researcher must ensure that the developed prototype is indeed applicable in the proposed context and can demonstrate some viable results in addressing the problem (p. 113). I also think it is important to remember the benefits of iterative design and development, as our text book describes, and continue to test and flush out our prototype design/development. Ellis and Levy don’t go into depth on the iterative nature (in my opinion) of design/dev. research and seem to focus more on a linear framework leading to the communication of results. This is where I feel our class will differ in that we will continue to pursue a more development spiral of usability tests, evaluation, and revision as the EduTech wiki and our Kuniavsky text describe.

    • I agree that we should remember that this is a cyclical and iterative process. This means that the design that we came up with in the previous semester may change yet again in this one based on the results of our evaluation research. Each time the product or system is revisited new areas are shown that may be problematic to the user or could be done better, evaluation is not an ending to our process it is a refining of that process.

  7. 1) Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see and;

    2) What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further?

    After reading the article and revisiting what we did last semester it is obvious that there are several intersections with what we did last time. First and foremost the article talks about design/development research as a way to create a product while continuing to add to the research of overall design literature and the everchanging research landscape. In other words design/development research is not just supposed to be for one product and one product only. It is inherently supposed to be used and cultivated to produce new and innovative systems, products, and methods. For example our research into augmented reality, brought about the designs of our education systems. When augmented reality was originally discovered/created it was not meant for this purpose but by looking at the research behind it and how and why it was produced we were able to come up with a new application for it. This is what design/development research is about.

    In looking at how to improve and further our designs I think that it is important for us to continue in our vein of practical research. By this I mean we are looking at research for the purpose of solving a problem. Therefore throughout the evaluation processes , testing , surveys and other methods that we will use this semester to improve our design we must constantly keep in mind the problem for which we are designing. However, if in the process of conducting this research we come across a new way of doing things we would be remiss if we didn’t try to add to the knowledge base of AR that is already out there.

  8. I think that our experiences from last semester have both some areas of intersection as well as diversion from the design research principles articulated in our readings for this two week period.

    I felt that last semester we all kind of did things a little backwards from the design processes our (then) textbooks described. We were all given the assignment of finding a problem for an AR solution, rather than doing a needs analysis based on an existing problem and developing a solution for that problem. In our current readings, I’m again struck by how far the very academic and scholarly definition of what Ellis & Levy identify as design and development research is from how we will go about continuing our prototype development. While our group last semester did do extensive research in museum literature, I’m not sure our AR solution was all that original in its potential contribution to the “archival knowledge base of foundations and methodologies.” As a result of that difference, quite a bit more of the qualifying research design and development criteria as articulated in our texts will not be met.

    Having noticed all that though, I think that what we all accomplished last semester resembles the kinds of varied problems and procedures that both designers and design researchers “in the wild” actually do. That we do not exactly fit into some graphic depiction of how design processes progress is for me quite a bit more interesting to contemplate that trying to create some catch-all graphic that describes the developmental stages. What we did for class, and likely what we’ll be doing in our future professional careers I think will be a good deal more messy and iterative that what I’ve been reading for class so far.

  9. 1. Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see?

    I immediately connected with Ellis and Levy article on their discussion of the challenges that face novice researchers in the context of working on ill-defined problems in fields with limited existing research and knowledge. The limited personal knowledge and research literature both motivate and hamper our group last semester. On one hand it motivate the group to reach out and research more broadly to find both information on AR and looking for an appropriate context to use AR in an educational application. On the other hand our developing knowledge and experience coupled with the newness of AR and it’s potential application created a difficult task. The challenge was there is no define process for evolving or designing AR is itself is in an evolutionary process. Our novice experience in this area made it difficult to know what were we missing or to discern the nuisance of valuable information a more experience researcher would have seen. What questions did we fail to ask because we did not have the experience to know to ask the questions or see the gaps? The processes in the article and textbook by design seek out the gaps and unknown by putting the evolutionary process into a defined process. These processes validate evolution through a continuous testing, challenging, exposing shortfalls and gaps, and in general pulling at the threads to see what happens. In many ways our AR project is the ideal model to illustrate the challenges of design and development research and application.

    2. What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further?

    As mentioned above working in AR a new field with limited information and a dynamically emerging technology challenges our ability to create a realistic prototype for capable of truly demonstrating the process. In addition we are working in new territory, evolving protocols and undefined potential. We have to review and develop process our previous work for the questions we did not answer. Realizing we have limited ability to create a functional prototype our group will need to work feasible alternatives to be able to effectively interface with our audience of users. I believe as we move forward we will have to continuously do backstitch to what we did last semester especially in the needs analysis to revalidate or focus and direction. One of our main focuses will be to expand our group’s audience of potential users. Our group’s audience we used in the prototype was one of three known large groups of homeschooling. Unfortunately, homeschoolers are a diverse and often private group. The audience and their goals I believe we captured well in our initial research however, this may not be the same audience we will have access to as we move forward this really change the goals of the audience. I believe the iterative development cycle almost seems a statement of the obvious cycle of ongoing evolution and experimentation. The research questions in Ellis and Levy page 112 struck me as a good foundational checks.
    What requirements must the product (tool, model) meet in order to address the problem?
    What are the major decision points in the design and development process, the options available at each point, and the optimal choices among those options?
    In what ways does the product developed meet the requirements specified?
    What changes to the product are indicated?

  10. After reviewing the 6-phase design and development research approach as described by Ellis and Levy, I most definitely see some clear connections between their approach and the process we took last semester. I also see some intersection regarding what we will be accomplishing in class this semester.

    I believe that the most intersection from last semester took place through the first 3 phases of Ellis and Levy’s approach. In the beginning we were tasked with determining a learning problem. Ellis and Levy state that specific learning problems can actually serve as drivers for design and development studies. In our case, the learning problem we established led to the design and development of a particular learning tool/technology that would help close the identified learning gap. This clearly connects to the first phase in Ellis and Levy’s model, as they describe the lack of a product or tool that could alleviate a learning gap represents a research-worthy problem related to design research.

    Phase two of their model, Identify Objectives, seems to connect to our both our performance analysis and needs analysis phases from last semester, but more so as what resulted from our research within those phases. As we compiled data from interviews and actual in-person research of the learning problem, we were able to gauge what that our product/learning tool would need to be able to do in order to address and alleviate our learning problem.

    Phase three of their model, Design and Develop, took place as we began developing our actual smartphone app for Mount Vernon. We were able to provide an existing framework for the product by developing character personas for potential users of our app. These personas also allowed us to analyze alternative solutions, as each of the personas would bring a different perspective to the learning problem. Finally, from these personas, we created our prototype, which served as an artifact that would carry us to our test and evaluate phase.

    From my perspective, the final three phases of Ellis and Levy’s model will take place this semester (Test the Artifact, Evaluate the Testing Results, Communicate the Test Results). I look forward to revisiting our product, evaluating its effectiveness, and providing additional enhancements to further close the existing learning gap.

  11. 1)
    While not all points made in the article aligned with the work we conducted last semester, I believe there are several overlapping areas. As most of my classmates commented, the 6-phase design and development research approach ties in closely with the progression of our path. We did depart somewhat from what the authors discuss in the fact that our research was far less literature and academic based.

    One point I did find interesting as I read was the authors attempts to draw a line between artifact and product production. The drove home that product development follows a linear line the does not fall inside the research oriented development box. I feel this might be the case for some product development, but can it be for all? With the amount of research conducted by our teams, I think we crossed that line. While I understand the point the authors were attempting to make regarding the differences between the two types of development, perhaps they failed to fully understand the process some developers follow (as we discussed above with the 6-phase approach).

    2)
    I think paying special attention to the specific challenges faced in DBR can help us produce better results. There challenges, outlined in the methodology section include: complexity, validity, generalization, replicability, and trajectory. Ensuring we remember the challenges we face can help us work-around them, and more successfully employ parts of DBR.

  12. 1) Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see.
    The Ellis and Levy article describes the six major steps in Design and Development Research. Last semester, we carried out the first two steps: 1) Identify the problem; and 2) Describe the objectives. The identified problem and objectives became the foundation of, and the source of meaning and purpose of our group projects.

    Things got really interesting though when we got to the third step, Design and Develop the Artifact, and this is where I see the most intersection. The three factors under the third step are: a) Build a conceptual framework, including system functionalities and requirements; b) Based upon that framework, analyze the alternative solutions and design a system architecture; and c) From the architectural design, create some prototype of the tool or being developed; these three activities composed the bulk of our project work last semester. This is also where creativity came in because the groups could have come up with ordinary solutions but that was not the case. As creative as the proposed solutions where, they were solidly based on system functionalities and requirements. During the final presentations, the groups explained how they sifted through alternative solutions until they found the one that fits both the objectives, the technology opportunities, and the constraints (which come with any given technological opportunities).

    2) What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further?
    This semester, we move on to the fourth step of Design and Development Research – “Test and evaluate the artifact”. The most important idea in the EdTech Wiki that I think we should all keep in mind is one of Reeve’s recommendations: “Carefully align any prototype technological solutions with instructional objectives, pedagogy, and assessment”. When using exciting technologies such as AR, it is easy to get caught up in exciting tools and cool gimmicks and lose sight of the fact that the learning activities and the learning environment must be tightly tied to the learning objectives.

  13. This may be a bit off-topic, but it strikes me that design research is a new concept. It seems completely logical to me and when I started thinking about it I realized that I’ve spent a good deal of time over the years doing just this – only not in education.

    In the theatre, we call that tech week. We spend a lot of time working with a team to create a product while doing informal user testing with friends and colleagues along the way. Then we spend anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks putting that product in front of an audience and deconstructing the whole thing every night, aka previews. The audience, or users, get to see the show for a discount and the production personnel get access to our user base to try out different style, and techniques and sometimes even content while we work to develop a production that conveys the desired message without resorting to sensationalism. In education, that message is pedagogically sound training.

    I guess what I’m going with in this is that it’s important to continue to look outward and draw from the world around us during this process. Not only by leveraging friends, family and coworkers to aid in our design research, but also in the broader arena of different careers and businesses whose day-to-day methods can also be used to inform our educational products because if we get so focused on what this means from only the topic of education, then we’re limiting our own resources.

  14. After reading the Ellis and Levy article and evaluating what we did last semester, I would argue that our process mirrored the six-step design and development research approach presented in the article (p. 111). Our performance and needs analysis and persona development phases track with parts a and b, while developing our prototypes, getting a quick round of informal user feedback, evaluating said feedback, and communicating our results to each other in our final presentations correspond with the remaining four phases.

    From my understanding of the readings and this semester’s syllabus, we will continue working through the last four phases of Ellis and Levy’s six-step approach in a more formalized manner this semester. Last semester provided an opportunity for us to really dig into the first two phases (and gave us a taste of the last four), but we will have the chance to really sink our teeth into design-based research this semester. The process would seem daunting had we not already tried it out. Now we will be able to test some of those “what if?” ideas that we had floating around in the backs of our minds to see if they are viable enhancements that improve our existing solutions to the complex problem we identified last semester.

  15. 1) Any intersection with what we did last semester and design/development research and if so, briefly comment on the intersection you see
    Last semester we had to select and define a problem for our Augmented Reality application. This is a challenging task because we had to find a problem that was appropriate and would meet the expectations for our design and development course. Of the 6-phase model, we were able to cover the first three by the end of the semester. We identified the problem, described our objectives, and designed/developed a prototype. This semester we will work on testing the prototype, evaluate the results, and communicate the testing results using iterative design.

    2) What methods/ideas from your perspective on this article and the EdTech Wiki definition that might we employ this semester to progress our AR prototypes further?
    From the article I gathered that it is important to follow a solid framework for our design and development research by asking the right questions, keep assumptions, limitations, and delimitations in mind, use solid and applicable research methods, and support all conclusions with research results.

  16. When looking at the 6-phase design and development framework in the Ellis and Levy article, I feel that Group 3 performed all of these steps to some extent during the fall semester. As we continue into the spring semester, although we have a low fidelity prototype, I feel that we will once again review all of the phases. Data collected throughout the fall has and will continue to affect our initial design decisions. During the spring semester, our research will be much more in-depth and uncover even more details about how we can solve our learning problem and hopefully come up with a purposeful solution.

    I think that the edutechwiki page on design-based research does a great job of defining the critical characteristics of design experiments. These characteristics definitely apply to the design methods and processes we use within our group and the class as a whole:
    • Addressing complex problems in real contexts in collaboration with practitioners
    (through discourse, our team identifies problems and discusses solutions)
    • Integrating known and hypothetical design-principles with technological affordances to render plausible solutions to these complex problems
    (we use a combination of our experiences and results of our research to uncover possible solutions)
    • Conducting rigorous and reflective inquiry to test and refine innovative learning environments as well as to define new design-principles
    (we perform continuous review cycles of our proposed solutions)

  17. 1) Yes, I can see an intersection between what Group 4 accomplished last semester and design research. Other groups may have had this same intersection, but I cannot speak for processes that occurred in their groups. Group 4 performed design research at the end of the fall semester (though we did not call it design research). We held a focus group with one of our stakeholders to receive their input on our design. I see this semester as being a continuation of last. More meetings with stakeholders are in our future as we work to examine, redefine, and create our prototypes.

    2) I think one of the most important pieces of progressing our prototypes is to continually ask ourselves, “would this be useful to the user?” Keeping the user in the forefront of mind may help to narrow our design. Using an iterative design process is a good way to keep the user’s needs in mind.

  18. 1. My group, Group 4, unkowingly used design research throughout the semester when developing our prototype. Design research was crucial to our overal prototype. In the beginning of our design process I often reflected our ideas to my friends and family to gain the input and to make sure our application would have an audience. Through meetings with teachers, students, and zoo personnel we were able to better define our goals. Our plans this semester follow design research as we are looking to get input from our stakeholders and users to improve our prototype.

    2. I think one of the points that connects with me looking at the EduTech Wiki is the idea of “continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign”. As our group moves forward with our prototype we are constantly looking to our stakeholders and users for their input so we can revise, revise, revise to improve our prototype.

  19. I see this as incorporating structure and flow into what we “already knew,” so to speak. But, instead of disparate fragments, the design process puts tasks into a logical order. Portions are revamped and revamped; and, the logical order is maintained througout the cycles.

    But, the formalized process also includes what we did not already know, what we did not consider and what we dismissed, intentionally or not. I am not implying that this is a one-size-fits-all pattern to be cloned. Actually, it makes so much sense becuase it is flexible and adaptive.

    Being new to the design process, my questions are:
    * What is this all about?
    * What am I trying to accomplish?
    * How do I do this correctly?
    * How do I know if I am doing this correctly?
    * If I make a mistake or have an oversight, can I correct it?
    ** And, the big one for me: How do I know if my findings and conclusions are valid and accurate?

    I admit to a palpable amount of angst at the beginning of this venture because I did not have any formal experience and I was not aware of any “checklist,” if you will forgive the oversimplified term. I see the design process as sequential, linear and circular processes all coexisting. There are complex and simple relationships among the components and change is always happening. But, the design process makes me feel like I have it under some sort of control. We can change, remove or preserve components as we gain user insights and other input.

    In our prorotype, we were all surprised by the importance, or lack of, which teachers placed on different features. Now, as we are gearing up for our focus groups with the students, I am standing by to be surprised by the students, too.


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