How does didactic knowledge develop?: Experiences from a design project
We, the authors of the paper, have jointly conducted several design-based research (DBR) projects. The subject of this paper is a project lasting approximately 18 months, which dealt with the introduction of a new curriculum in a vocational college. We were involved in different roles: one as a representative of the research community and the other as a representative of the vocational college and thus of practice. In the project, different interests were considered: the research division wanted to generate knowledge while the practitioners were interested in implementing a curriculum and developing new forms of learning and teaching. It is not that we could always assign each of these two perspectives to exactly one of us, even though we were officially researchers and practitioners. We have always approached each other in our DBR projects.
Both perspectives have been incorporated into the paper: One author is concerned with the genesis of knowledge—how knowledge is created in DBR projects, a partly methodological approach. The other author attempts to find theoretical points of reference and reassurances about the project work. This leads to very practical considerations.
The project did not commence with an exactly defined problem; we began with broad concerns that had to be distilled into specific goals over the course of the project..
We had to conduct dialogical planning in our different roles and responsibilities. After each work phase and workshop, we reviewed and made a record of what had happened and how, the condition of the group and what it should work on in the next practical phase. This was supplemented with classroom visits and one-on-one discussions with various project participants. The information derived from these evaluations was subsequently used in the planning of the next cycle. Therefore, in the next cycle, the same project was not conducted, but a revised project was developed, which continued from where the previous cycle had ended. Thus, the problem definition continued evolving. In this paper, we have tried to concisely present how the work progressed in phases and cycles and roughly described the thought process and evaluations that shaped this project. Perceived this way, this paper serves two different interests. First, it shows how a problem definition was developed and further sharpened and what concrete result was obtained in the process. This is indicated by the subtitle. Second, it explains how knowledge is created and defines the scope and specificity of this knowledge.
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