At the conclusion of each course I am taking at Walden University, I am required to write a brief reflection on the course. This is the reflection I wrote on the ”Foundations of Research” class I just completed.
Deep learning requires personal commitment from the learner. In the first week of this course, one of the course objectives was to formulate personal learning goals for the course. I wrote as my goal, “to become a better consumer of research,” and “to be able to understand more of what I read in research papers.” I believe I accomplished those goals. I learned to recognise the structure of various kinds of research reports so I can quickly gain an overview of the questions a research project was attempting to answer, and the conclusions that were drawn from the research. I know how to quickly locate and evaluate the available literature, based on evaluation of research methods and controls, the proper presentation of data, and based on the opinions of experts in whatever field the research involves.
In this course, I created a working hypothesis based on my own professional experience as a programmer, and based on what I have recently learned about social learning theory. I formulated questions to guide my research, and I began the process of looking for peer-reviewed research that could support or disprove my hypothesis in a literature review. To my consternation, I found some research that supported my hypotheses, and other research that appeared to disprove it. I concluded that more research is needed into some specific aspects of my topic, and I focused my literature review on presenting both sides of the controversy, and on the conclusions that all researchers agreed upon.
Then I created a position paper focusing on the aspects of my original hypothesis that are supported by research, presenting both sides of the aspect that needs further focus and study. I concluded with a proposed course of action, based on the facts I uncovered in my literature review.
Toward the end of the course, we focused on ethical standards related to instructional design. It is important for instructional designers to join and support a professional association to contribute to upholding high ethical standards in the profession, to support and hold others accountable for their professional standards, and to be supported and held accountable by others in the field. (Burns, et al., 1999, p. 14) Membership in at least one (and possibly more than one) professional association will help me establish my own professional reputation, and is also a good way to stay current in the field. (AERA, 2000)
As a result of this course, I have experience organizing and implementing a scholarly review of available literature that is an essential step toward aquiring the necessary background to begin an instructional design project proposal.
In conclusion, I think the main benefit I take away from this course is the ability to confidently approach the available literature on any subject. While I may lack the expertise required to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular topic, I will always be able to gain an adequate overview necessary to determine when a project is within my capability, or whether it should be referred to a collegue with experience in the particular field.
AERA. (2000). Ethical standards of the American Educational Research Association. AERA. Retrieved from http://www.aera.net/AboutAERA/Default.aspx?menu_id=90&id=222
Burns, J. Z., Dean, P. J., Hatcher, T., Otte, F. L., Preskill, H., & Russ-Eft, D. (1999). Standards on ethics and integrity. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 12(3), 5-30. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/53029/CRS-CW-4442078/Week8_StandardsonEthics_PIP.pdf
Stephens, Michael. (2004, October). Tame the Web: Libraries and technology [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.tametheweb.com/ttwblog/archives/unknown.jpg