Situating the Research to Practice Cycle For Increased Transformation in Engineering Education

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



Integrated Engineering


The educational research to educational practice cycle is an important framework for connecting the fundamental research in engineering education to the real world of the classroom and other learning environments. When applied consistently, the educational research to practice cycle bonds the two halves by elucidating new questions from practice and finding new answers through research, which is then applied in practice. Ideally, the educational researchers are grounded in the needs and changing context of the practitioner and the educational practitioner is using evidence from the research as a key component in their pedagogical decision making. While we have seen some gains through this model, large-scale, systemic transformation has been largely elusive. This paper situates the research to practice cycle in the organizational context to illustrate key barriers to transforming engineering education. This paper is designed to start a conversation within the engineering education discipline about how better situating this model in organizational structure and organizational change can make the research to practice cycle in engineering education more effective. It will define organizational structure and barriers to organizational change within the context of the research to practice cycle, including how organizational infrastructure allows researchers to craft evidence-based implementations that are more likely to succeed in a particular location and to identify a set of initial potential barriers to success. Awareness of the, often unintended, messages that the organizational infrastructure sends are an important part of managing change in our educational practices and discovering under-studied areas of engineering education. This paper also ties to on-going work by the authors to examine specific implementations of engineering education transformation and identify mechanisms to overcome organizational and systemic barriers to evidence-based changes in engineering education practice.

Publication Title

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition