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George Mason University Professor Visits McKay School [VIDEO]

Brenda Bannan, prominent visiting scholar from George Mason University, began this year’s IP&T Seminar series, describing her topic of design research as “building an airplane while trying to fly it.”

“Essentially we are trying to invent other ways to think about design and research and the intersection of those two to help solve education and learning problems,” Bannan said. She described this emerging approach to research methodology as a fascinating area of study.

As one of the first in her field to discuss design research, Bannan began her presentation by discussing what design research is and sharing general ideas about it in the following statements:

Design research

  1. results in usable education innovation,
  2. generates knowledge about teaching and learning through basic and applied research cycles,
  3. strives for data-driven design and research decision making,
  4. provides rich information about learners, context, and instructional strategies to inform cycles of further study, and
  5. embeds different applied/research methods at different phases in the design and research processes.

Bannan went on to explain the step-by-step process in each phase of design research. She gave three in-depth examples of recent projects she and her research team had conducted in which she demonstrated in detail how the design research process could be applied. Each of the three examples showed a different kind of adaptation the researchers made to new information supplied in the design project.

Reflecting on Bannan’s presentation, Andrew Gibbons remarked, “Dr. Bannan is not only a highly trained and skilled designer, but also an excellent researcher prepared in the foundations of traditional research. Perhaps it is the combination of the two that gives her the ability to see something that the rest of us don’t notice until it is pointed out to us.”

Rick West remarked, “Already several people have mentioned how much they learned from her visit and how well she was able to articulate the complicated design-based research approach. Her strength lies in her ability to clarify the sub-processes in design-based research. Her presentation was very illuminating.”

This was Bannan’s third time visiting BYU. She commented, “Each time I’ve enjoyed it tremendously.”

4 October 2010