Posted by: bbannan | September 11, 2007

Integrating Design and Research

For several years now, I have been interested in the intersection of design and research processes. In 2000, I first heard the term design research (which historically in education has also been referred to as design-based research, teaching experiments, design experiments, etc.). The term has seemed to have taken on a life of its own recently emerging in the educational research journals but also demonstrating a long history in computational research, engineering design and other design disciplines as well. Some fields seem to leverage design processes to study specific educational phenomena (such as mathematical cognition or scientific understanding) while others are interested in iteratively improving design processes themselves (such as engineering education or product design).

However, the practice of design is being discussed across contexts such as the next significant skill that all corporate management should have (see Business week, July 28, 2007). In education, this emergent form of research attempts to combat the research to practice gap focusing on the design and development of an educational innovation (technology system, curriculum, professional development approach) while at the same time generating knowledge about teaching and learning. Essentially design research combines the iterative processes of design and development with embedded cycles of basic and applied inquiry and research methods. It can be conducted at different levels or more macro and micro-contexts such as at the school level, classroom level, teacher level, or student level involving groups and/or individuals.

Several special issues in education literature have wrestled with defining what this new form of educational research entails including Educational Researcher (2003), Educational Psychologist (2004) and the Journal of the Learning Sciences (2004), however the field is still attempting to gain clarity on articulating the methods and rigor of this emergent form of simultaneous creation and study.

This blog will be devoted to conversation related to improvement of our understanding of how the creative processes of design intersect with the analytic, systematic processes of research across disciplines. Perhaps a broad understanding of how those within and outside education study and leverage what is learned about design and about the design process to generate or sensitize us to specific educational issues, we push the field of educational research past more limited understanding about “what counts” in education.

Please offer your perspectives and contribution on what the combination of research and design means to you.

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Responses

  1. I will preface my comment with a disclaimer that I am still relatively new to the field and practices of design. That being said, I must admit that both research and design appeal to me for their systematic nature. Both present the opportunity for cognitive flexibility and growth within a framework of intellectual and academic rigor. I believe this combination of characteristics promotes both individual and collective knowledge development.

    I am intrigued by the intersection of design and research, as these elements seem to me to be parts of a knowledge-creation spiral. Research asks questions and provides an avenue to new information through answers to those questions; subsequent design may then synthesize that information to meet a need or solve a problem. The solution set may lead the user back to inquiry and study, and so on.

    In education, this process (hopefully) leads to improvement of practice, and, ultimately, better outcomes for learners. Too often education has been led by trends that are unrelated to what we have found through research to be best practices.

  2. Hey! Nice first post! I hope the rest is just as fun to read…

    At a recent UNESCO conference I heard a keynote speaker refer to design as “inverse use.” I found the metaphor really interesting. What can thinking about design as “inverse use” add to our thinking about design research?

  3. The initial posts portrays design as a creative process in contrast to the analytical, systematic nature of research, but I don’t see a dichotomy in that way. For me the key aspect of design is that by its definition, design is deliberately planned. Something that is designed means that it was created with forethought-design is the antithesis of happenstance, and can be as analytical or systematic as any research process.

    For me, having worked as an e-learning developer and designer for so long, the intersection of design and research comes at the applied level. If design is planned, then for whom is it planned? For me, the answer is always the end users who will use the courseware that I am working on. The research is the part of the design that guides a design’s construction on sound foundations- the foundations of how people learn, how people teach, how people interact with software in usable ways. Research and design play a symbiotic role. Research should inform design in the early stages and then validate the design in the finished product. Additionally, as design is often seeking new frontiers in attempts to solve new problems, research is the anchor that can help determine whether a new design is in fact a good design or just simply a design that is exciting because it is new. Conversely, research can sometimes reveal new issues that suggest a design solution not previously considered. Design and research each inform and support each other.

  4. This is something that I have been struggling with recently … what is design in how it applies today in terms of what Nussbaum refers to as the “global perspective” of design. Dealing with multiple perspectives on design from multiple disciplines … could it lead to a design free-for-all? I don’t think so – I think it opens up incredible possibilities in establishing new and creative processes related to design, and I think that is obvious in the creative mashups and innovative applications seen in the Web 2.0 sphere. But will the need to follow “processes” restrict creativity? I think one must follow some sort of process as a means to achieve a solution, but do you really need to follow an established set of guidelines or rules to get there? It would be interesting to “get into the head” of say, the 22 year old Facebook founder, to find out – what was his process? Did he follow a general IT or business model? Or did he just follow his instincts — and if so, what did his instincts tell him to do exactly?

  5. I believe that the art and science of design and research complement each other perfectly. Just as a doctor must combine the science of medicine with the art of caregiving in order to treat the whole being, so both design and research must consider holistically the goals to be attained and how, in human terms, those goals are best achieved.
    Design and research can never be separated from their human contexts. Applied ethnographic research exemplifies this system of evaluation. We must understand, design with, and research design effectiveness with, specific people in mind.
    Ours is necessarily a condition in which art and science must work together to form the cohesive whole.

  6. Under the topic of “design” Wikipedia provides the following two paragraphs (retrieved on 10/23/2007):

    Design, usually considered in the context of the applied arts, engineering, architecture, and other such creative endeavors, is used both as a noun and a verb. As a verb, “to design” refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component. As a noun, “a design” is used for both the final (solution) plan (e.g. proposal, drawing, model, description) or the result of implementing that plan (e.g. object produced, result of the process). More recently, processes (in general) have also been treated as products of design, giving new meaning to the term “process design”.

    Designing normally requires a designer considering aesthetic, functional, and many other aspects of an object or process, which usually requires considerable research, thought, modeling, interactive adjustment, and re-design.

    The last sentence of the first paragraph is striking because it implies that design can be a process for designing a process. This seems relevant to instructional contexts and performance support development. Is research in a design context therefore a process for studying the process of designing processes?

    The single sentence comprising the second paragraph of the Wikipedia entry interestingly identifies research as a requirement for design work, but in this context the “research” being referred to is not actually research into the design process, but rather research into the subject matter of a design.

  7. In her post dated September 24th, Tiffany wrote:

    “…Research and design play a symbiotic role. Research should inform design in the early stages and then validate the design in the finished product.”

    I thought that was an interesting comment because it reflects a linear perspective of the relationship between research and design. This is the same type of pattern that is characterized by the ADDIE model. While both research and design play a role in the ISD process there is a distinct line between them. In other words, the relationship between research and design is less symbiotic and more like a sandwich with research being a slice of bread and design being the filling inbetween.

    On the other hand, the ILDF model sees the relationship between research and design as an iterative process in which exploration (research), enactment (design, development and implementation), and evaluation work in a concurrent fashion. In other words, the ISD process is seen as more fluid environment in which the constant interplay between research and design allows a product or creation to evolve.

    These different perspectives have a potentially significant impact on the way we create and design educational and training environments in the future. For instance, throughout our readings we are constantly reminded that flow of information is no longer controlled by the few. Instead, we find ourselves in a world in which information is generated from multiple sources and perspectives. The existence of multiple sources and perspectives means that it is becoming increasingly impossible to control the point at which one phase of the ISD process end and the other begins. As a result, linear based models such as ADDIE are becoming increasingly ill-suited for guiding the ISD process.

  8. Design is a fundamental element for creativity and innovation. It can be called an interface for the development of any new idea to take shape. It can also be a distinguishing feature that sets the basis for how people can use the idea simply, effectively, personally and to its full potential. Technology has given Design a new meaning and has taken the end user of the design interface to new vistas of knowledge and development. Research on the other hand is an investigation about an idea from different aspects of the world.
    Having defined Design and Research it brings me to gather what the two words put together would mean. Behind every learning environment is a set of design ideas and a world of information and knowledge, we have to figure out how to design the interfaces to match the teaching and learning practices of that particular group. Secondly no matter what kinds of interfaces these are that we design, they have to be designed in such a way that people can use them simply, effectively, personally, and creatively. To do that there need to be a research study done. Finding out or investigating for whom are we designing the interface is the first and most important step. How well this is defined is based upon the data gathered that addresses the problems and how well the selective theories explain the learning process and outcomes.
    Henceforth, I think design and research complement each other and I see design as a basic element of any time period to be a factor in creativity and innovation, based on a concept researched upon. Though we are just at the beginning of the boom in new ideas, new ways of learning, and teaching and practices in the field of education we still have a long way to go in putting these into a design interface that would help create better and more learning and teaching practices. Research is one way that would help us better understand what the end users need.

  9. Being a graphic designer and web developer for around 15 years with a degree in advertising, design to me is very visual, however I also see it as very strategic. Advertising is a classic example of the merging of research and design. The advertising industry probably spends more on market and user research than any other industry to get people to buy products. These products and advertising vehicles (print, radio, tv, product placement in movies, everywhere you look) even though “designed” creatively have come from in-depth research on what the user wants, needs, likes, will use, and ultimately buy. Isn’t our goal as instructional designers to find out some of the same things about our educational “end-users”? When I first entered the instructional design program I thought I had to switch my mindset when I heard the words “design” or “designer” to think in instructional terms instead of creative ones. Coming in I thought of instructional design as more of a process rooted in theory and research, which it is, but it is also a very creative endeavor as I see more and more with every class I take. It has been interesting to see the impact of creative thinking and visual design merged with theoretical and user research to arrive at a solution to an instructional problem. Research and design are very much connected and in order to create an effective instructional solution I do not think they can be mutually exclusive.

  10. Having worked with a lot of programmers in my past life, I have seen research applied to the design and development of a desktop software or websites using the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC). The first step was always to go in and find out from the client how things were being done. This might mean extensive interviews to determine business process flows and an understanding of their business terminology. It also included gathering samples of their current work papers and sometimes even doing an ethnographic study watching how they use the legacy systems.

    After the initial phase of research, a validity check was done with the client just to make sure that there were no holes in the data that had been collected. The next step would be to map out what the client was trying to achieve—automate processes, increase efficiencies, reduce errors, etc. After that the gap analysis would be conducted to compare what the client was currently doing to what they wanted to be doing, so as to look for areas where improvements in policy, systems, business processes, or training could be valuable.

    It was always interesting to see the client’s face when they were able to step back and look at their business through the research that had been done and compare that with the design of the new system tailored to meet their business needs. It was then that they began to get excited and see the possibilities that had all started with design research.

  11. This course is shaping what my interpretation of research and design means. I have definitely learned and absorbed a lot about interviewing and selecting a client. I found out how to characterize a customer for a client. I believe that my team’s current client has a spectacular idea yet they don’t know how to deliver that idea. Even if my team presents a list of suggestions I believe our suggestions will be meaningless without provided the client a visual or some kind of prototype.

    Today I have learned that research and design in education parallels what I was taught as an undergraduate in computer science. There has to be a flow chart or diagram of the processes that need to be followed to reach a conclusion. As a developer I was taught to use the Software Development Life Cycle, yet I have always had to do a rush approach and skip most of the steps. I have found that in the real world I have to bypass this step due to deadlines. Research and design brings my past training in to play and is really forcing me to rethink how I respond as a coder to quick deadlines. Maybe I can take a more planned and thought out approach in a short amount of time. Maybe?

  12. I like the way Tiffany mentions “. . .the intersection of design and research comes at the applied level.”

    I don’t believe I would usually classify needs assessment or learner identification as “research”. However, after reading through many of the postings so far, I reconsider my original reaction.

    If you don’t take time to “intersect” research and the design, you take the risk of not producing a product which both meets the needs of te audience and the stakeholder’s expectations. I view desiging learning from the point of corporate learning, so there is a certain aspect of meeting the organizational needs in addition to those of the learner.

    I help companies design learning that is strategically aligned with corporate goals and this is another “intersection” of research and design.

    Thanks for putting it out there to allow us to think outside the box.

  13. I think the intersection of design and research is a fairly natural development. Design definitely impacts effectiveness of anything–educational or otherwise.A classic example would be a lesson plan targeted to auditory or to visual learners.

    In today’s web 2.0/everything 2.0 world design is becoming more fluid and open to personalization, meaning that one website can be everything to everyone. K. Monti mentions how interesting it would be to get inside the head of the creator of Facebook. Facebook is the perfect example of a modular environment that lends itself to personalization and customization. To conceive of such an environment, the designer must have been frustrated with the rigid nature of the environments he/she had experienced before.

    In my professional life I work a lot with content revolving around manufacturing. A couple common terms are make-to-stock, assemble-to-order, and make-to-order. Make-to-stock is the least flexible process. Specifications are determined, and all products follow those specifications. Make-to-order is exactly what it sounds like; the product is only made when it is ordered and the specifications are determined by the customer. Assemble-to-order takes advantage of modular components just like Facebook and creates a personalized product to each order from a pre-determined list of options.

    In a world where everyone is increasingly connected and simultaneously wanting to increasingly individualize themselves, the assemble-to-order approach will work for many situations, not just tangible goods.

  14. I believe the intersection of design and research has helped instructional designers become more familiar with research tools that can be used to inform design as well as ideas about how and when to deploy designs effectively. Using qualitative and quantitative methods of research, instructional designers are better able to design training materials that meet client goals and learning objectives. Theory is transformed into practice as instructional designers select pedagogical models and map instructional strategies to learning activities. Understanding a combination of research methods and design principles helps instructional designers select the most appropriate method of delivery for training.

    I found the Business Week article Dr. B-R mentioned in the original post to be quite interesting. In my opinion, CEOs and managers should understand “design thinking.” They should either meet regularly with the research and development department to gain insight on design trends, or form design committees. This would be a great way for CEOs and managers to stay abreast of the latest information on design in order to introduce top-selling products and services.

    I’m interested in learning more about design research and its implications in the field of instructional design.

  15. I would agree with Tiffany’s statement that “Design and research each inform and support each other.” As you go through the systematic steps in designing instruction you take into account the research that has been done on instruction that research give you the structure of your design.

    When you design instruction you do research in the form of performance and needs analysis’. Then when you develop the instruction you do research in the form of evaluations. All of that research is informing the design process of the instruction.

    Design thinking, which is the build up of ideas for practical, creative issues and problems, as a process contains an integration of research.

    It seems to me that both design and research are symbiotic. Each process, as Tiffany stated, “informs and supports each other.”

  16. December 2, 2007
    Tiffany, I agree with your insight. Design and research do inform and support each other. As we discovered during our project, it is important to begin a design with research about what is:
    available,
    needed, etc.

    Cheri’s visual of the spiral makes sense as the design and research dance together! As David mentions, researching the environment and users is vital in knowing what to design and as the design is created, the research continues to help inform the designers make adjustments to improve the product.

    I agree with the interconnectedness of research and designed mentioned by most of the responses I have read thus far. I noticed that there also seems to be different types of research through the design process. I understand Cara-Lynn’s hesitation in considering the initial data gathering as research. I usually think of research has posing a question, then providing controlled environments and procedures in order to test the hypothesis. However, in Dictionary.com research is defined as “diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.” That definition does describe our procedure for gathering information.

    In the beginning research started with gathering enough information to give a detailed description of status quo. Using the description, a design begins to take shape as ideas meld into a product. The design is continuously compared to the data that was collected through initial research. As the process continues, and the product evolves, a new type of research will begin to match the features of the design with the needs of the people and environment with whom and where the design will be used. This data can be collected through interviews to get insight as to the usefulness of the prototype. Each stage of the design should include research of varying depths to determine the feasibility and usefulness of the product.
    As our group goes through the design phases, we researched subject matter experts such as, researchers, teachers, students, and parents. Through each stage, we compared our ideas to the data gathered and gathered more to flesh out the design. Our rough drafts were reviewed by subject matter experts and with feedback, additional design adjustments were made.
    I am curious to find out what the next stage of research will be. Unless we build a prototype and introduce it to a classroom and/or student, it will be difficult to conduct scientific research on the design.

  17. Even though I came into this course with a really vague idea about Design and Research and the processes associated with it, it is getting to an end and with no doubt I have enhanced my knowledge a lot.

    From my experiences so far, I believe that every design should posses some form or level of research. However, the difference lies in the fact that research can be in a more formal dimension where specific methods such as data collection methods are used as opposed to the less formal types f research methods. In order to design, the designer needs to familiarize him or herself with the situation or whatever that the design is being created for. Designers sometimes have absolutely no idea of what they are designing for. In this case, the most logical thing is to get to know it better and this is done through research. What I have really learned and appreciated is the Ethnographic type of research where the researcher plays an active role by participating in what ever he is researching.
    I strongly believe that Design and research depend on each other.

  18. My “understanding of how the creative processes of design intersect with the analytic, systematic processes of research across disciplines” comes from the government consulting world and from my own personal experience in designing worship experiences in church, two very similar structures when you think about it.

    In reading other posts I sense a desire to blend and meld and holisticly bring a smooth interaction between creativity and systematic research. However in both church and government, there is always tension between these elements. And I believe that is a good thing. Without tension a government will not have checks and balances and a church needs tension (motivation) to worship.

    The US governments spends billions on RESEARCH, the church can spend billions on creative buildings/programs and activities DESIGNED to worship.

    Afua mentioned that Design and research depend on each other and this is the tension I am talking about. I’m sure some folks might want to analytically define where Creativity and Design one start and and the other ends, but I am the creative one and could care less. What I care about is the change desired that is pushing me and motivating me. My lack of interest in systematic design makes me thankful for those that are inclined towards that side. Without them, I’d have no structure to work with.

  19. The intersection of design and research is something I’d never thought about before taking this course, but over this semester I’ve gained an understanding of how intertwined they are with each other.

    As a graphic designer I am often approached with preconceived ideas about designs and many/most times I’m not given options of researching information to see if the design concept will work for the end user. What usually happens is the customer is given exactly what they ask for, then later they realize it isn’t what they really need. This class has allowed me to experience the steps involved for solving an issue by formally and informally gathering data about the subject through multiple modes of research, interviews with an audience of experts and end users, finding gaps in what exists and what doesn’t and figuring out solutions to best meet the users needs before ever putting ink to a page. Tiffany stated it best in her post when she said that research informs the design. It is so apparent that without thorough research into understanding what the user needs our design phases would more than likely not support the end product. One of the many things I have learned about instructional design is you need to ask questions, lots and lots of questions at every phase!

  20. I believe that each design is based on research. We can say that research is the process of setting the core (idea) of design and design is the process to embody the research results (idea) to fit end users. I would consider design is an extend process of research and research a continuous process even during design phase. Let us take what we did in this class EDIT 730 to design a device for ADHD gifted students as an example for the intersection between design and research. First we did a research to study this population’ characteristics and to find the needs of those students, their families and teachers. In order to develop our unique device that tends to meet all these needs, we had to do a research to find what is in there already in the market of devices could fit some of these. Finally, after we use this device, we need to conduct a research to evaluate the use of the devise.
    Research and design are very connected and probably intersect several times during the design process.

  21. EDIT 730 and EDIT 732 gave me a different perspective on design research. Before, I had always associated research as being a complex, controlled and involved process that required a lot of time and effort–like scientific experiments and educational research. And while this is often the case (and very important), the processes we used in EDIT 730 showed the flexibility of design research. I appreciated that Brenda had us do a couple of “reality checks” or research tasks to make sure that our design didn’t go off on a direction that wasn’t a viable option for the stakeholders. The “brainstorming” we did as a group I thought was particularly helpful as it made sure we could always “see the forest” and the big picture came back into focus during the semester.

    In her post, Brenda mentioned that the corporate level is more concerned with design research. If incorporated, this shows a master plan and a periodic check-in with a bigger vision. There can be too much reacting otherwise, especially in government–i.e., how do we look good to the public. There is often way too much reaction that a little design research and discipline could help cure, in my opinion.

    Research can be as simple as periodically reaching out for stakeholder opinion and realizing that although it might not be perfect it is very likely good enough and a starting point to get moving. After all, it isn’t a perfect world and we have to deal with time and money constraints. The collaborative process of design research also supports the end product.

    One of the earlier posts stated that design is deliberately planned. It is more descriptive to say the design process is deliberately planned but the actual design remains flexible and is modified based upon research finding, constraints and limitations, technologies, and collaboration of design team and stakeholders.

  22. I like that in the original post you call it the intersection of design and research processes. I attended the eLearningGuild DevLearn conference in early November and one of the keynote speakers was Frans Johansson, author of “The Medici Effect”. His speech was about how innovation occurs at intersections. “It is in our minds. It is a place where different cultures, domains, and disciplines stream together toward a single point. They connect, allowing for established concepts to clash and combine, ultimately forming a multitude of new, groundbreaking ideas. This place, where the different fields meet, is what I call the Intersection….When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary new ideas” (Johansson). I believe that Johansson’s discussion of the Intersection applies to the intersection of design and research.

    As Tiffany said, research and design are symbiotic. As Tiffany and Susan both said, research creates the foundations for solid learning. Research is a systematic process, including benchmarking established theories, methods, and strategies. These foundations from research are essential to creating the jumping off point from which innovation can occur. Here, a designer can truly test the bounds of creativity and imagination – thinking abstractly, considering how to create the “explosion of extraordinary ideas” Johansson talks about and how we can make them happen. This intersection becomes essential for innovative breakthroughs in learning, everything and anything from one inspirational course to whole new theories on learning.

  23. As I read Nussbaum’s article, I agree that design is everywhere, around us and global. Although some people may not agree with this idea or do not believe we are moving toward this concept, designing is becoming a daily encounter in our lives. And to keep this design thinking developing, we need our research. Both concepts go hand by hand. And I don’t mean just the core paperwork but the social interaction that the current research brings into designing our products, interacting with new technology, or just new leading ideas. The best research we can apply in our designs is the sharing of ideas and concepts that people is experiencing. I am not saying that while researching to create our designs, I wouldn’t consider textbooks and articles, but the sharing of current ideas and experiences is what makes our designs part of a leading edge product that would meet our goals closely. Apple computer and the Ipod wouldn’t have had much success if the company wouldn’t have invested constant feedback from their customers.

  24. One aspect that I find intriguing about design research is the consideration beyond empirical research to include what goes on “behind the scenes” and examine the factors that contribute to the unique design of an instructional environment. Of particular interest are the often unpredictable “pragmatic, political, and participatory” factors considered in design (Kelly, in press). It is interesting to see how the focus of design can change based on these factors and despite strong theoretical grounding established for a project. As an immersion student, I have observed how difficult it can be to reconcile the needs of the audience versus the wants of the client, and the direct impact these factors have on design decisions.
    ——————————————————-
    Kelly, A.E. (in press) Introduction. In A. Kelly (Ed.), Handbook of design research in mathematics, science and technology education (tentative title). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  25. Corporate Edict, the Waterfall Method and the Design of Public K-12 Education

    It occurs to me that much of the design of public education, at least extending through the secondary level, is based upon a frightening combination of corporate edict and the waterfall method.

    Corporate Edict
    Following a period of vocal dissatisfaction, a superintendent and/or a school or education board may decide the elements of focus for the entire system and then require all others to enact them. These decisions are often based upon limited information and the personal biases of those who make them. The education system then becomes the pet project of an individual or small group and not the research-based design which would create the best learner outcomes.
    Because of the consideration of only a single perspective, the design of any educational system based on corporate edict is doomed to, as Kuniavsky so eloquently put it, “miss its mark, sometimes spectactularly” (p. 29).

    Waterfall Method
    The ability to design extensive plans is a strength for those who administrate education. Making well-reasoned and valid plans, however, is an entirely different matter. Any educator who has read the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act knows that the waterfall method, with its numerous assumptions about students, teachers, and schools (many of them clearly inaccurate) and inability to modify expected outcomes, is alive and well in public education. It is obvious that the understanding of the legislators who enacted NCLB does not match the reality of schools.
    In most environments, efficiency that exceeds 90% is reason to celebrate. In public education, nothing less than 100% by 2012 will do. What in the universe works with 100% efficiency? And what makes anyone believe that penalizing schools with pre-existing high success rates for failing to make improvements every year will help?

    The Iterative Design Alternative
    Although an iterative design for education would – and does – make sense, this does not seem to occur to those who make decisions about education. Instead, they cling to what has “always” been done and hope for the best. In terms of learning outcomes, this is a poor execution of administrative power. Therefore, despite the fact that I believe strongly in the potential power of public education, I feel that perhaps a move toward privatization would improve its success – and, as a result, overall public satisfaction in the system.

    References
    Kuniavsky, M. (2003). Observing the user
    experience: A practitioner’s guide to user
    research. San Francisco, CA: Morgan
    Kauffman.

  26. As a teacher in the private sector for 16 years and as a teacher and then Assistive Technology Coordinator in the public school system for the past 10 years, I have similar experiences to the ones described by Cheri. I didn’t really know how the edicts were born but felt their weight as they impacted my workload significantly. I also agree that the highly touted NCLB has many flaws that would be helped tremendously by an iterative procedure that involved gathering and analysis of feedback from all in the school system, teachers, parents, and students. New solutions could emerge from problem solving sessions armed with analysis of feedback. Working as a team to solve educational issues using iterative development would be a novel approach that would give voice to those who are most affected by success and failure of schools. We need to hear the perspective of students as they go through the high stakes testing. We need to hear from the parents and the teachers. If we were all honest we would have to see some benefits yet we could also point out many weaknesses that, if considered, could result in positive changes.

    As one who finds possible technological solutions for my district, I have noticed that often a great deal of money is spent without input from teachers and students. Even after training is provided, often the technology sits on the shelves or is under utilized. Perhaps if they were consulted before purchases and adoptions, greater success might result. And I begin to ponder ways I might begin to get more feedback from teachers and students, and use the analysis to adjust the products and situations to better fit the needs.

    Knowing that collecting feedback and data of use, analyzing the data, adjusting the situation and product, is an ongoing, spiraling process is also vital! How often do we tell students that in writing it may take many drafts before a written piece is ready for publishing, yet, am I forgetting this valuable advice if I do not constantly collect feedback, analyze, and adjust? The pattern of iterative design could be valuable in many areas!

  27. I believe I can confidently say based on my understanding and reading so far that Design Research is collecting data in a particular context not umtil the desire information is met. So to me, it is an ongoing process that could take a really long time or a really short time…based on the researcher’s information and satisfaction of information gathered to optimally address the desired information.

  28. The combination of research and design means properly gathering information about your audience so that you can develop a worthwhile product. Kuniavsky’s example in chapter 2 demonstrates how many products fail because the products are not designed with the audience in mind. The products that failed were great for the person that designed them, but the book suggests if the steps are taken to really analyze the customer’s needs and then change the not quite finished product to adapt to the customer’s needs, then you have a better success rate.

    I am used to creating products for the customer but in my case the customer does not know what he wants most of the time. I normally have to create something and wait for the response. This is good and bad in most cases. Most of the time, I have not invested too much time into the project therefore I am able to pick a reasonable stopping point for evaluation or feedback. This goes totally contrary to what we are being taught.

  29. I have a contribution in the form of a question. where does design research actually end? i am thinking from the perspective of designing for an audience that is constantly evolving. Does this then mean that design is endless? Each audience member would have a unique characteristic and in which case bring something different to the audience.

  30. Interesting to know.


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