“Design experiments” > design-based
research = design research = DBR = EDR
= researching innovative educational
designs in their naturalistic settings
interventional research >practice>research
(Brown, 1992; Collins, 1992)
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, 1999, p. 7)
DBR is a qualitative multimethod approach for exploring
uncharted domains while
designing effective solutions
for these domains.
Qualitative means that the
outcomes of DBR will not be
able to test hypotheses
DBR is not a qualitative method!
Exploring means that, both,
practice and theory do not
suggest anything meaningful.
DBR identiﬁes working
Uncharted means that theory
(aka "prior research") does not
predict the potential outcome of
DBR lets theory emerge by
isolating research problems.
Designing means that the
project outcomes include at
least one working solution
supports your claims
DBR does not simply transfer
a solution from one domain
When it is Time to Fight and When to Run
DBR is a ﬂexible and powerful
approach unless you are
unprepared or unaware
Rule No. 4
Select a method that helps
isolating a working hypothesis
Rule No. 5
Document the identiﬁed working
hypotheses for further research
• Practice ï ðresearch
• Drawing on engineering and technological research
• Focusing on design, construction, implementation and
adoption of learning solutions
• Process focused and iterative
• Interventionist: applied solutions to real educational
• Contextual: real people, context, and cultural
background, in-situ investigation/evaluation
• Utility oriented
• Theory driven
• Unifying theory and practice
• Rich feedback
o Multileveled and multifaceted
• Co-developing theory and design in-situ
• Testing in real-world learning situations
involving all actors/end users
• With people for people
• End-users as partners (active co-creators)
• Combination of motivation and efforts
• Students as researchers
• Diverse evaluation perspectives
“We are moving away from a passive information age
towards an active participation age” (Farmer & Gruba, 2006, p. 149)
• Diverse expertise of practitioners & researchers
• Collaboration & support
• Network of colleagues
o Flexible dialogue from whenever
o Online platform and tools (e.g., Wiggio, Collaborate)
• Dynamic feedback from actors
o At milestones and agile
Beneﬁts of DBR (m-learning)
Context is king
• Evolution of theory
• Evolution of practice
More Beneﬁts of DBR (m-learning)
• Build foundational understanding of m-learning trends
• Gain insight into learner m-learning behaviours
• Generate inspiration and ideas for appropriate design
• Deﬁne what functionality is most critical
• Improve the usability of infrastructure
• Inform future design solutions
• Provide professional development
• Raise awareness and understanding of m-learning
The scope of DBR
The role of the researcher
complexity of the system – breadth
coordination of research and design activities
no objective measure of learning
amount of data
consensus-reaching and interaction among actors
threats to validity
Transferability of ﬁndings
Rigorous data collection/analysis procedures
Findings documentation and reporting
Sound conceptual framework
Clear deadlines and deliverables
“Flexible” (academic schedules)
Solid project management a
Collaborative DBR research team
“If a researcher is intimately involved in the conceptualization, design, development,
implementation, and researching of a pedagogical approach, then ensuring that
researchers can make credible and trustworthy assertions is a challenge”
(Barab & Squire, 2004, p.10)
• Project context
Bannan, B. (2009). The Integrative Learning Design Framework: An illustrated example from the domain of instructional technology. In T. Plomp & N.
Nieveen (Eds.), An introduction to educational design research (pp. 53-73). SLO: Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development.
Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-Based Research: Putting a stake in the ground. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1-14. doi:10.1207/
Brown, A. L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. Journal of
the Learning Sciences, 2(2), 141–178.
Collins, A. (1992). Towards a design science of education. In E. Scanlon and T. O’Shea (Eds.), New directions in educational technology (pp. 15–22).
Dede, C. (2004). If Design-Based Research is the answer, what is the question? The Journal of the Instructional Sciences, 13 (1).
Design-Based Research Collective. (2003). Design-Based Research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1),
5-8. Retrieved from http://www.designbasedresearch.org/reppubs/DBRC2003.pdf
Farmer, R., & Gruba, P. (2006). Towards model-driven end-user development in CALL. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 19(2 & 3), 149-191.
Palalas, A. (2012). Design guidelines for a Mobile-Enabled Language Learning system supporting the development of ESP listening skills (Doctoral
dissertation, Athabasca University). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10791/17
Palalas, A., & Hoven, D. (2013). Implications of using DBR to investigate the iterative design of a mobile-enabled language learning system. CALICO
Plomp, T. (2009). Educational design research: An introduction. In T. Plomp & N. Nieveen (Eds.), An introduction to educational design research (pp.
9-36). SLO: Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development.
Reeves, T. (2006). Design research from a technology perspective. In J. van den Akker, K. Gravemeijer, S. McKenney & N. Nieveen (Eds.),
Educational design research: The design, development and evaluation of programs, processes and products (pp. 52-66). New York: Routledge.
Van den Akker, J. (1999). Principles and Methods of Development Research. In J. van den Akker, R.M. Branch, K. Gustafson, N. Nieveen, & T. Plomp
(Eds.), Design approaches and tools in education and training (pp. 1-14). Boston: Kluwer Academic.
Wang, F., & Hannaﬁn, M. J. (2005). Design-based research and technology-enhanced learning environments. Educational Technology Research and
Development, 53(4), 5-23.