Educational Design Research

In the past month, we have begun exploring Educational Design Research (EDR) methods. Though this research approach informally aligns with the way I have designed past courses and training materials in practice, there are a number of complexities that complicate the methodology. Below is a brief description of each “muddy” point I still have at this point in our studies of EDR.

Connecting EDR Models and Publication

I can’t recall a time where I have struggled to understand a published study quite like I have this semester with the EDR publications. For at least a week, it seemed as though the example studies I was reading and the descriptions of EDR models by McKenney and Reeves (2012) and Bannan (2007) didn’t align. At this point, I am not really sure that they do align fully – especially when taking publication dates into consideration. McKenney and Reeves (2012) description of a general EDR model followed the Hakkarainen (2009) study. I suppose I expected the terminology between models and publications to align clearly. When that didn’t happen, I had to really struggle to identify the model components within the publications.

Identifying EDR Cycles

McKenney and Reeves (2012) describe various types of cycles – micro, meso, and macro – that characterize the iterations of an EDR study. At this point, I am still having trouble applying these cycles to published examples of EDR. I do not know that I fully understand the characteristics that define each cycle which may be the source of my problem.

EDR Concept Map

For our first reflection assignment, we were asked to create a concept map of our current understanding of EDR. The full version of the concept map can be found here.


Because I am having such difficulty conceptualizing educational design research as a whole, I dedicated my concept map to organizing the various components presented in the readings as a means of processing. All of the components of this concept map originate in McKenney and Reeves (2012) or Bannan (2007). The concept map begins for me with inspirations. EDR pulls several concepts from both curriculum development and instructional design. Both components must be considered when designing educational design research in terms of the level of reach as well as developmental processes. Next, I move across the concept map to inputs which highlight the various points of reference researchers can draw on to begin conceiving of an educational design research study.

Next, I move to the methods and frameworks which details the components of the study. Though it is not possible to indicate via a Coggle, I can see numerous areas where the Generic Model and the Integrated Learning Design Framework overlap. For example, the informed exploration piece of the Integrated Learning Design Framework is essentially the analysis and exploration phase of the Generic Model. Both phases describe the point of the study where researchers explore the problem of the study in greater depth through literature reviews, needs assessments, initial surveys, etc. Despite the similarities, it does seem that the Integrated Learning Design Framework is geared more towards practical elements of exploration when compared to the Generic Model.

Last are the outputs or outcomes of an educational design research study. Both practical and theoretical contributions should arise following the iterative cycles and results which guide both future research endeavors as well as practical recommendations for implementation.

Though I know this initial concept map is basic, it does identify my relative understanding of the methodology thus far. I kept it simple intentionally, allowing me to adapt and change the model as my conceptual and practical understanding of educational design research grows. Ultimately, time permitting, I would like to return to this concept map and update it at the end of the semester as a means of measuring my depth of understanding through this course.


Bannen, B. (2007).  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. Retrieved from

Hakkarainen, P. (2009). Designing and implementing a PBL course educational digital video production: Lessons learned from a design-based research. Education Technology Research and Development, 57(2), 211-228.

McKenney, S., & Reeves, T. C. (2012). Conducting educational design research. New York, NY: Routledge.

Swan, K., Day, S. L., Bogle, L. R., & Matthews, D. B. (2014). A collaborative, design-based approach to improving an online program. Internet and Higher Education, 21, 74-81.



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