When the Principles of Adult Learning are Insufficient: Co-designing a Response to Meet the Professional Learning Needs of Australian t Teachers.

Year: 2019

Author: Harper-Hill, Keely, Kerr, Jeremy, Whelan, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Focus & relevance

Research-to-knowledge gaps are not limited to the discipline of education. However, a failure to effectively address the gap within all school settings risks the educational outcomes for many students, including those with diverse needs. A secondary but important outcome of such a persistent gap, is the potential waste of resources invested to create the evidence-base for teaching practice. Both outcomes undermine the provision of education within a socially-just world.

Context & Contribution

This presentation will report on the response to the translation challenge facing the education researchers conducting over twenty research projects through the Autism CRC in five states of Australia. How can the wide range of research findings impact teaching practice in Australian schools most efficiently and to greatest effect? Education researchers and those operating in professions allied to education are well-equipped to apply principles of adult learning in their efforts to translate their research findings. Despite this, translation of findings into the real-life context of the classroom has demonstrated only mixed results. In recognition of this, the Education Knowledge Translation research team undertook a series of co-design activities over 24 months in order to inform the translation process of research findings into Australian classrooms.

Design & methods

Using participatory research methodology, a unique series of activities were undertaken with more than 150 educators and policy makers across Australian education sectors. The co-design and consultation activities provide a framework for researchers seeking to maximise the impact of their research on teacher practice.

Results & Findings

The characteristics of the co-designed response has led to the development of the online platform inclusionED. In addition to wanting to understand the evidence-base underpinning a practice, teachers identified the need for supported implementation within a community of practice. The resultant platform is uniquely positioned within the knowledge to action cycle to efficiently deliver authentic, evidence-informed resources with the potential to respond to the demands of the specific contexts within which Australian educators operate. The methods used across the Knowledge to Action cycle will be shared and inform future translation of research findings into Australian classrooms.