|Ph.D Student||Ronen Fuhrmann Tamar|
|Subject||Design Knowledge Acquisition Processes of Graduate Students|
Who Learn to Design Educational Technologies
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Yael Kali|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Understanding the characteristics of design knowledge, and finding ways to support novices in gaining it is of high importance in many design fields. This research examines the nature of design knowledge in three courses in which graduate students learned to design educational technologies (N=67). The courses were based on an instructional model developed in a design-based research methodology with four iterations. The model integrates the openness of a studio instructional approach, with the structure of a well-known instructional systems-design process. It also takes advantage of experts’ design knowledge embedded in a design principles database.
Qualitative data was used to characterize how 14 case-study groups of students acquired design knowledge. To quantify the qualitative data, two rubrics were developed. The first, entitled the “concretization rubric” was used to evaluate the degree to which students were able to translate their design ideas into design artifacts. The second, entitled the “epistemology rubric” was used to examine the epistemological changes that students went through during the courses.
Outcomes indicate that many students had difficulties in concretizing their design ideas, and that successive versions of the instructional model better supported students in acquiring this skill. Concretization was found as an important aspect of design knowledge, which helps novices relate between their own design ideas and advanced pedagogical ideas expressed in experts’ design knowledge. As such, it was viewed as a crucial skill for novices to progress in a design knowledge novice-expert continuum. Furthermore, the study revealed a gap between students’ “theoretical” and “applied” epistemologies. At the beginning of the semester, when engaged in theoretical discourse, students tended to advocate socio-constructivists paradigms, whereas when engaged in designing technologies, more than half of the students tended to neglect these ideas and apply more traditional approaches. These gaps were reduced during the courses. Thus, as students developed their skills to design educational technologies, they also increased the coherence of their epistemological understanding. Engaging students in designing educational technologies, and concretizing their design ideas proved to be a productive way for students to examine their own epistemological beliefs, negotiate them with peers and experts, and explore them in relation to theory.