Approaching An Action Research Thesis

Approaching An Action Research Thesis-11
Kolb (1984) extended this model to offer a conception of the action research cycle as a learning process, whereby people learn and create knowledge by critically reflecting upon their own actions and experiences, forming abstract concepts, and testing the implications of these concepts in new situations.Practitioners can create their own knowledge and understanding of a situation and act upon it, thereby improving practice and advancing knowledge in the field.Action research into our own teaching practice is an important source of learning for the group.

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In the area of computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW), we are interested in the changing contexts for collaborative work offered by new technologies, from both managerial and social-psychological perspectives.

The British Library has recently awarded the group a grant to undertake a sixteen-month project entitled Communicating Effectively in the Networked Library.

Action research approaches to educational research were adopted in the late 60s and early 70s by the teacher- researcher movement in the secondary education sector.

This sought to bring the practising classroom teacher into the research process as the most effective person to identify problems and to find solutions.

We hope to develop a model based upon our experience which will be transferable to other curriculum development initiatives.

Our curriculum design seeks to address two major objectives in undergraduate education: firstly, to enable students to experience "deep" learning; and secondly, to facilitate the development of transferable skills.

It has long been recognised that traditional teaching techniques often fail to encourage "deep" learning of subject content, which goes beyond short-term rote memorisation to enable the assimilation of new knowledge in a way which allows re-application to novel situations (Entwhistle, 1988).

Strategies to develop transferable skills in areas such as thinking and learning, self-management, communication, group work and information management, are intended to prepare students for work outside of the academic contexts in which they are learned initially.

A new research group has recently been established in the Department, focusing upon electronic support for collaborative learning and work.

In the area of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), we are exploring and developing new pedagogic models for learning, using electronic support and learner-centred approaches.


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