Which naturally leads to the question of how should we be doing educational research when it comes to K-12 online learning?
Begins with the involvement of the local stakeholders in identifying the challenges to be addressed and the interventions to be used. In addition to trying to solve the local problem, there is a focus on the development of theory to explain what occurs in the local context. Finally, there are multiple cycles of analysis and revisions to ensure that changes become part of the routine of those involved in the system. Probably the only example or closest example of DBR in the K-12 online learning field is the Virtual High School Global Consortium.
The VHS Global Consortium was established through a five year, $7.4 million federal grant, as such there was an expectation for evaluations and research. This research was conducted with the VHS staff as a full participant (i.e., being involved in identifying the issues that needed to be examined, assisting in the design and completion of the research, implementing the recommendations, and then repeating the process to ensure the recommendations had the desired outcomes). As a result of these cycles of inquiry that examined a variety of problems in this specific context, along with the close relationship between VHS staff and the SRI International evaluation team in the design of both the virtual school and the evaluations, much of what is still known about virtual schools comes from this refined approach. It is also worth noting that the VHS has not only continued to operate since the end of the initial federal funding, but has thrived. In fact, the VHS is one of the largest and most successful virtual schools, and one of the few virtual schools that doesn ’ t rely upon direct government funding.
It all depends. If all we have is a single method that we use to design, delivery and support online learning; how is that really different than the teacher that lectures every single day, expecting their students - who are frantically taking notes - to keep up. The way we design, delivery and support online learning targeted to at-risk students must be different than online learning targeted to AP students. One of the best ways to figure out how to do that and do it well, is to have our research focus on local challenges through methodologies like design-based research.
HICE 2011 - Examining the Development and Challenges of K-12 Online Learning
Examining the Development andChallenges of K-12 Online Learning Michael K. Barbour Wayne State University
Three Roles of Virtual School TeachersVirtual School Designer: CourseDevelopment•design instructional materials•works in team with teachers and a virtualschool to construct the online course, etc.Virtual School Teacher: Pedagogy &Class Management•presents activities, manages pacing, rigor,etc.•interacts with students and their facilitators•undertakes assessment, grading, etc.Virtual School Site Facilitator:Mentoring & Advocating•local mentor and advocate for student(s)•proctors & records grades, etc. Davis (2007)
Research on Virtual School Designer• Barbour (2005; 2007); Barbour & Cooze (2004); Cooze & Barbour (2007)• Keeler (2004; 2006); Keeler & Anderson- Inman (2004a; 2004b)
Research on Virtual School Teacher• DiPietro, Ferdig, Black & Preston (2008)• Murphy & Coffin (2003); Murphy & Rodriguez-Manzanares (2007; 2009); Nippard & Murphy (2007)
Research on Virtual School Site Facilitator• Davis, Compton, Niederhauser, Lindstrom (2005); Davis, Demiraslan & Wortmann (2007); Davis et al. (2007)• Roblyer, Freeman, Stabler & Schneidmiller (2007)• Barbour & Mulcahy (2004; 2009)• Murphy & Coffin (2003); Murphy & Rodriguez-Manzanares (2007; 2009); Nippard & Murphy (2007)
Future Research• Investigate what constitutes effective web-based design for adolescent learners• Explore effective synchronous and asynchronous teaching strategies - consider what content should be taught using what medium• Examine the duties and responsibilities performed by school-based teachers to support K-12 online learning