Study trip to the Open University Netherlands

Recently I travelled along with my colleagues to visit the Open University of the Netherlands and a group of researchers who were particularly interested in Practice-Based Research and Networked Learning. In the following is just a short wrapup from the trip.

We were very well received by our colleagues there and they had planned a great week for our stay as shown in the table below:

skaermbillede-2016-10-08-kl-16-15-37As part of the programme, we collaborated a conference where both research teams could present different parts of their research to a broader audience (mainly masters students at the university and colleagues). I have written briefly about the conference in an earlier post:

Confrence on Practice-based research methods

At the conference, I had the chance to give a presentation on the “Concepts of transfer and transformation in designing for situated knowledge across contexts”
My presentation was mainly on presenting different views and positions on the concept of transfer and relate those views to my own research. In my presentation, I did partly describe and problematise the concept of transfer and argued that transfer should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon but in correlation to learning and transformation of knowledge situated in contexts
You can see my slides here:

Concepts of transfer and transformation in designing for situated knowledge across contexts from Roland Hachmann

As part of the workshop, questions arose on the concept of participation and how we actually are able to identify which contexts participants bring into and across social constructions. How are we able to know, which prior experiences and knowledge, participant bring into a situation and how actions are related to them. These kinds of questions are important for my study and I will need to engage further with these perspectives.

Another hot topic at the conference was on the notion of quality in empirical research and who should actually conduct this kind of research. On one hand, it was argued that universities were perfectly able since research is not dependent on a specific practice or limited to specific contexts, and on the other hand it was argued that research should indeed take into consideration and recognise practice as complex and research as an entangled part of this complexity, which could not be neutral. Again a topic that will be both important and interesting for me to elaborate on. Right now there is a similar discussion on, whether research conducted by professionals at Departments of Applied Science (At University Colleges) do a special kind of research that differs from Universities hence the strong commitment and involvement in practice. At this point, I’m not sure where I stand. I will be back on this topic in another post

Workshop: Methodology and instruments for practice & participatory-based research

As another activity, I, together with my Ph.d.-fellow Lea and dutch colleague Arnoud, planned a workshop on a topic that we think as highly influencing Participatory research or in my case, Design-Based Research.

The main focus of the workshop was on locating benefits and challenges on engaging into studies from a participatory or design-based perspective. We wanted to have a focus on which qualities others saw in Participatory- or Design-Based Research and especially on shifting positions of the participants in a research design.
In short, literature on Design-Based Research often addresses perspectives on roles of the researcher as well as the co-designers/practitioners, but the focus being on skills needed, e.g. being an expert in the field, rather than on the phenomena of changing positions in the phases and contexts of research. As researchers, we find this insufficient and lacking understanding the social construct of empirical research. 

To facilitate the discussion we divided the two teams into three groups discussing the following:

 

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After discussing the input from the three groups we presented two examples (dilemmas) to illustrate how positions, shift in actual practice, we (Lea and I) drew upon two empirical studies from our own research conducted in the context of Teacher education programme. The first example shows how the professional background of the researcher influences the participants’ positioning of the researcher. The second example shows how the position of the researcher is questioned by the co-designer while developing a practice with and through the design. Both examples provide cases where the position of the researcher is not fixed, and thereby not limited to being the expert, nor does it take a neutral or invisible stance in the setting.

The two examples are shown below:

skaermbillede-2016-11-06-kl-18-36-42

skaermbillede-2016-11-06-kl-18-36-49

Special issue to come:
To repeat and summarise  all points of discussions would be too much in this post, but as a result of the trip, we agreed to collaborate further on a special issue where we will present, discuss and reflect upon the various topics from our week. Lea and I are, in collaboration with Charlotte Wolff writing on an article the focuses on shifting positions as a phenomenon and we are looking forward to publishing it next year. For now, we are still in the  investigation phase, but since publishing articles undergo a long process the actual writing process will soon begin.

More to come on the account as well.

Below you can see the two research teams from Denmark and The Netherlands:

SDU team:
Nina Bonderup Dohn
Jens Jørgen Hansen
Stig Børsen Hansen
Lea Tilde Rosenlund
Roland Hachmann

OUNL team:
Maarten de Laat
Steven Verjans
Emmy Vrieling
Femke Nijland
Arnoud Evers
Rob Martens
Charlotte Wolff

2 thoughts to “Study trip to the Open University Netherlands”

  1. Great post, Roland – sounds like a very inspirational trip.

    In terms of gaining access to participants’ prior knowledge, experiences etc., Per Andersson’s (Lindköping U) work with “recognition of prior learning” may be of interest: https://www.liu.se/forskning/professorer/nya-professorer/uv/per-andersson?l=sv

    Given the similarities between DBR and AR, you might find inspiration from Herr & Anderson (2005), who propose a continuum of six different positions the action researcher can assume ranging from (1) Insider studying his/her own practice to (6) Outsider(s) studying insider(s).
    Herr, K. & Anderson, G.L. (2005). The Action Research Dissertation. Sage.

    1. Dear Marianne,
      Thanks for the tips on literature. I will definitely look into them. I can also recommend a Sasha Barab and his work in Critical Design Ethnography http://sashabarab.org/article/critical-design-ethnography-designing-for-change/ and regarding “recognition of prior learning” we are at SDU hosting a conference on Epistemic Fluency, that also has som very interesting views on, where professionals draw their knowledge from when participation in different practices. Lina Markauskaite (who is also my sponsor, when I go as Visiting Scholar to the University of Sydney) has written an interesting book about it. http://www.springer.com/la/book/9789400743687 You might find it interesting as well. Thanks again for the input and showing me, that there is actually someone following the blog… 🙂

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