About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3282-3289
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0907

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

CRITICAL REALISM AND THE RESEARCH-LED DESIGN EVALUATION AND OPTIMISATION OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

A. Withell, N. Haigh

Auckland Institute of Technology (NEW ZEALAND)
Critical realism is a relatively new ontological stance that is increasingly utilized as useful and effective paradigm position within educational research. The research project described in this paper utilized critical realism underpinned by action research, comparative case studies, and a theorizing methodology to iteratively evaluate and enhance a learning environment – in this instance a design thinking course and collaborative project within first-year university programmes. This involved the identification of positive and problematic tenancies, and associated causal explanations (theory) for students' responses to the activation of the learning environment, which informed its continuing development and enhancement.

The research outcomes make a range of contributions related to scholarship and practice. This paper explores some of these contributions, including an overview of the rationale for utilizing critical realism and associated research approaches and methodologies, as well as the conceptualization of phenomena e.g. learning, learning environments and design thinking from a critical realist perspective. The theorizing methodology is then described, along with examples of causal explanations involving mechanisms and contextual factors that helped account for students' response to the successive activation of the learning environment. The implications of these explanations and factors for the design of a ‘signature’ learning environment for design thinking, are considered.
@InProceedings{WITHELL2017CRI,
author = {Withell, A. and Haigh, N.},
title = {CRITICAL REALISM AND THE RESEARCH-LED DESIGN EVALUATION AND OPTIMISATION OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.0907},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.0907},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {3282-3289}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Withell AU - N. Haigh
TI - CRITICAL REALISM AND THE RESEARCH-LED DESIGN EVALUATION AND OPTIMISATION OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.0907
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 3282
EP - 3289
ER -
A. Withell, N. Haigh (2017) CRITICAL REALISM AND THE RESEARCH-LED DESIGN EVALUATION AND OPTIMISATION OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 3282-3289.
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