Teachers as designers: Analyses of pedagogical patterns and their use

Doktorand: Elisabeth Rolf, DSV

Opponent: Stefan Hrastinski, KTH

Huvudhandledare: Ola Knutsson, DSV

Handledare: Robert Ramberg, DSV


Recent research has claimed that learning designs can strengthen the teaching profession by acknowledging teachers’ role as designers as they use these to disseminate good teaching ideas about digital technology to colleagues in schools and universities. However, the promises attributed to learning designs are based in particular on teachers producing learning designs, rather than on analyses of them or their use. This dissertation attempts to bridge the gap. Specifically, it aims to expand the current perception of teachers as designers by analysing certain details involving the content and use of pedagogical patterns, through applying a multi-method research design. In order to analyse the content of pedagogical patterns, the pedagogy and the digital competence training of students are discerned. In order to analyse the use of these pedagogical patterns in the creation of lessons and lesson activities, the extent to which relevant ideas are re-used as well as the types of design work performed when using these patterns are addressed, too.

My research is positioned within technology-enhanced learning (TEL) and learning design (LD) and additionally incorporates design research. Besides literature providing background and knowledge, all frameworks utilised for the analyses are found in these research fields. The research is qualitative and includes directed and summative content analyses. Data are presented in the form of a set of pedagogical patterns, audio recordings and written material generated by teachers during workshops.

The results show that adapted frameworks are appropriate for distinguishing pedagogy and digital competence. The detailed findings point to a varied approach to pedagogy in pedagogical patterns and a limited use of the digital competence repertoire, both of which are considered compatible with a focus on spreading the use of technology in education to less experienced teachers. The findings concerning the use of the created pedagogical patterns show that teachers may be inspired by the ideas they present and consequently, they may choose to adopt them to some extent, or use them as springboards to designs that show little resemblance to the original patterns. However, some teachers are not inspired by them or use them in this way. Indeed, teachers take varied approaches to design work, in line with professional designers’ work processes.

This compilation thesis thus contributes to existing scholarship by using a novel approach to the perception of teachers as designers.

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