What you will study
Every day, we see new claims of how technology improves learning for everyone. Critical researchers are needed now more than ever, due to these claims (made in both mainstream and in social media) surrounding educational technologies and the ways in which they are used, or abused. This module will enable you to understand and critique the latest developments in research and evaluation in educational technology, and apply these in your own professional context/s.
There have been a number of important and interesting innovations in recent years, and the module will enable you to explore these in depth – for example, learning analytics, open educational resources/open research, and educational technology use in international/diverse cultural contexts (including developing countries). Many of these will be relevant to your own context and we will encourage you to reflect these professional and/or personal perspectives when studying on this module. You will look both at how new educational technologies are researched and at how technology is changing the way educational research is conducted.
These are important for practitioners today because of their need to be well informed of the latest developments in the field, but also for them to have the skills to be able to critically engage with these developments. As a result of doing this module, you will be able not only to read but also understand different types of research reports and the way these reports are directed towards different audiences or stakeholders. You will also gain the skills to initiate, carry out and evaluate high-quality research, and be supported in conducting a piece of small-scale research relevant to your own practice or context. The case studies in the module typically use a variety of research designs to look at the educational potential of technological phenomena such as MOOCs or social media platforms.
This module will help raise your awareness of, and enable you to create reports and other research outputs for a range of audiences which means that this is highly relevant to many aspects of everyday life and professional practices, no matter what sector or discipline you work in. You will also be exposed to new technologies and innovations, and learn how to critically evaluate them in a practice-based context. You will be given a basic introduction to different research methods and start to explore which ones are most appropriate to use and when.
The module will help you innovate in your own personal or professional context by giving you the knowledge and expertise to critically understand recent developments in educational technology. It will also enable you to plan and evaluate research projects or practical implementations that you could apply in your own professional or personal context.
This module represents a wide context of teaching and learning (both formal and informal) that may include case studies from primary, secondary and tertiary education, voluntary organisations, the public sector (e.g. military, police etc.), training and various international bodies, that highlights how relevant these issues are to a large number of people in their everyday lives.
It is suitable for lecturers, teachers, trainers, developers and other professionals working in a variety of sectors. It is appropriate as a standalone professional development module. It can contribute to the OU’s Online and Distance Education programme (Masters, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma) and can also be useful as a stepping-stone if you’re thinking of applying to undertake a doctorate (PhD or EdD) in education or educational technology in the future.
All materials are delivered online and interactions take place via online forums. This makes the module accessible from anywhere in the world and gives you the added bonus of being part of a lively international community of students able to learn from one another’s experiences in different cultural contexts. You will also be able to connect up with the innovative research carried out by the Institute of Educational Technology at the OU and gain valuable access to the Institute’s world-leading academic expertise.
You will learn
The module will enable you to achieve the following learning outcomes:
Knowledge and understanding
- Demonstrate knowledge of the strengths and challenges of cutting-edge methods and theories associated with practice-based educational research and evaluation
- Develop and demonstrate skills in locating, understanding and critically assessing research published in a variety of formats (e.g. social media, government reports, blogs, academic papers, mainstream media) and other forms of research outputs relevant to such research
- Show understanding of the diversity of, and issues facing, educational technology research and practice from a global perspective
Engage critically with a number of themes associated with practice-based research in educational technology, such as:
- methodological issues, including issues such as objectivity and validity
- the changing nature of research
- ethics, responsibilities and consequences of research (both intended and unintended)
- relationships between research, policy & practice
- Apply what you have learned to your own professional or personal context
- Know how to report research or educational technology evaluations in a publishable form that is appropriate to your target audience and other stakeholders
- Develop skills in, and knowledge of, writing and critiquing research outputs and funding proposals
Practical and/or professional skills
- Locate, interpret and critically assess published studies relevant to practice-based research in technology-rich environments
- Develop and demonstrate research skills through engaging in a piece of small-scale research in a context relevant to your everyday practices