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3 Action research

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Figure 5 There are many advantages to ‘action research’

Action research (sometimes known interchangeably as practitioner research) can be a great process to help you make informed choices about pedagogy and technology in online learning. This type of research is focused on solving particular problems and enhancing your practice. It is focused on doing research that is relevant to you as a teacher. It might seem daunting to undertake a research project but action research is an easy approach to get you started, particularly because it helps you to focus on understanding and changing your practice. If you already do other forms of research, you might find that this requires some adjustment to how you think.

Some key concepts of this type of research are:

  • Teacher-initiated – it really is about using a research process to enhance and develop teaching in your context.
  • Empowering – it supports you to be responsible for your practice and potentially to inform policies or principles used more widely in your institution.
  • Small-scale – it is manageable and something you can fit into your schedule.

Activity 3 Making use of practitioner research

Timing: Allow about 40 minutes

Read this article at EdFutures (2012) to understand more about practitioner research [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

As you read, think about the following questions. Afterwards, write a short response for each one:

  • Can you think of a key issue or question that you would like to research around the potential for you to use online learning in your work?
  • What sort of data collection method do you think you should use and why?
  • Is there anyone you want to work with to create a community around your project?
  • How would you design the research so that the results would be useful to you and others in a similar position?
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This activity is designed to help you to combine several of the elements covered in this course. You should consider learning analytics, action research, networking and sharing, and how they could all be brought together to enable you to effectively evaluate your own online teaching practice.

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