© 2018

Understanding Problems of Practice

A Case Study in Design Research


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Dawn Hathaway, Priscilla Norton
    Pages 1-10
  3. Dawn Hathaway, Priscilla Norton
    Pages 11-25
  4. Dawn Hathaway, Priscilla Norton
    Pages 27-39
  5. Dawn Hathaway, Priscilla Norton
    Pages 41-50
  6. Dawn Hathaway, Priscilla Norton
    Pages 51-61
  7. Dawn Hathaway, Priscilla Norton
    Pages 63-69
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 71-72

About this book


Today, K-12 practitioners are challenged to become educational innovators.  Yet, little is available to the practitioner to guide their reflection about the design, development, and implementation of these innovations in their own practice. This brief approaches such problems of practice from the perspectives of design research. Although design research typically centers on the partnership between researchers and practitioners in real-world settings, relationships between researchers and practitioners are not always practical.  In this brief, the authors explore how the design research process can make the goals, assumptions, processes, methods, and outcomes of design research uniquely accessible to the practitioner. In clear, explicit language, it introduces design research to practitioners using both expository discussions and a robust narrative case study approach that ably guides the reader through the phases of design research, namely:

  • Theory to innovation to practice
  • Understanding problems of practice
  • Creating a design solution
  • Assessing the design solution
  • Evaluating learning outcomes
  • Capturing lessons for practice

Understanding Problems of Practice is a singular resource for teachers and practitioners enrolled in graduate research courses or courses on teacher leadership.  It also lends itself well as a supplement to professional development activities and studies at the district, school, and professional learning community levels.


Design research Classroom practice Problems of practice Design practice Educational innovation Teacher education Personal knowledge Design pattern Online course development Assessing design solutions Qualitative research methods Quantitative research methods Attitudes about technology Teacher technology knowledge Lessons for practice Design research lessons

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Technologies in SchoolsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Learning Technologies in SchoolsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

About the authors

Priscilla Norton is a Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University.  She has been involved with educational technology since the late 1970’s, working with teachers to understand the role of the electronic technologies to support teaching and learning.  Dr. Norton is Director of the Designing Digital Learning in Schools Master’s and certificate programs as well as a faculty member with the Learning Technologies Design Research doctoral program.  Dr. Norton has been designing, developing, and studying e-learning environments for teachers and high school students resulting in part in The Online Academy – a virtual high school. This program was awarded the 2006 Governor’s Technology Award (COVITS) for Innovative Use of Technology in K-12 Education.  In 2007, Dr. Norton was selected as a recipient of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty award sponsored by the State Commission on Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) and Dominion Power.  She is the author of numerous articles and two books – Teaching with Technology (Norton & Wiburg, 2003) and Technology for Teaching (Norton & Sprague, 2001).  More recently, she received the AACE E-Learn outstanding paper award (2014) and the AACE SITE outstanding paper award (2015), both co-authored with Dawn Hathaway.  Her research interests include design strategies and processes as they influence technology teacher education, online learning environments for both teachers and high school students, and the design of K–12 digital learning in schools.

Dawn Hathaway is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development, Graduate School of Education, Division of Learning Technologies at George Mason University. Dr. Hathaway designs and researches graduate programs for K-12 practicing teachers in a Master’s program in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Designing Digital Learning in Schools. Recently, she received the AACE E-Learn outstanding paper award (2014) and the AACE SITE outstanding paper award (2015), both co-authored with Priscilla Norton.  She has a robust record of scholarship that includes design research and both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.


Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Understanding Problems of Practice
  • Book Subtitle A Case Study in Design Research
  • Authors Dawn Hathaway
    Priscilla Norton
  • Series Title SpringerBriefs in Educational Communications and Technology
  • Series Abbreviated Title SpringerBriefs in Educat. Communicat., Technology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-77558-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-77559-3
  • Series ISSN 2196-498X
  • Series E-ISSN 2196-4998
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 72
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Educational Technology
    Learning & Instruction
  • Buy this book on publisher's site