Design Learning Research

Dr. Betty K. Garner (a former art teacher) offers the following steps as a solid, yet simple approach to conducting
an action research study (the study of one's own practice). For further information on Dr. Garner's work, please
visit where you will find an outline of "Getting to 'Got It!': Helping Struggling Students Learn How to Learn."

Within our context, we will refer to Betty's action research process as design learning research.


Design learning research is a systematic, reflective, and collaborative process that examines a situation or issue for the purpose of planning, implementing and evaluating change. 

Design learning research is brain compatible learning process that maps to how you naturally go about learning something new.

Design learning research is a self-directed study of one’s own practice that: 
  • identifies a specific issue or problem
  • collaborates with colleagues to collect and analyze data related to issue
  • develops and implements an action plan 
  • evaluates implementation and reformulates study question/s based on findings 
Design learning research is process of investigation to facilitate change: 
  1. What do I want to know?  (formulate your critical question) 

  2. How am I going to find out? (identify data collection methods)
  3. What did I find? (examine the data itself) 

  4. What sense did I make of what I found? (analyze the data) 

  5. What am I going to do as a result of what I found out? (create a plan of action and form of design)

  6. How do I evaluate what I do? (assess the level of positive impact your design has/may have) 

  7. What new questions do my findings bring up? (reformulate your critical question)