Research Methods I

LRSC 501
Course Description: 

This course is focused on understanding the components of scientific arguments as they apply to the diverse research problems that characterize the Learning Sciences. It includes analysis of the components of a scientific argument, development of a research question, and the appropriateness of different research designs for approaching varying questions about learning and learners. Special consideration is given to: (a) understanding the interplay between the design process and the research process in the emergent field of “design experiments” and (b) the influence of micro and macro policy contexts on the framing and execution of research agendas on learning. The course establishes a familiarity with issues of Research Process – being about evidence, warrants, purposes, objectivity and subjectivity and narratives. It should expose students to relevant concepts, terminology, and a menu of methodologies, making them aware of the range of tools and types of data for a variety of approaches to research.

Introduction to the Learning Sciences

LRSC 500
Course Description: 

This course examines current theoretical and empirical work on how people learn, particularly from the perspective of implications for instruction and the design of learning environments in formal and informal educational settings. We will consider research on learning in traditional academic domains (e.g., mathematics, science, literature, history) as well as everyday learning of children and adults. Using sociocultural, cognitive, and design-based research lenses, we will examine teaching and learning from multiple research perspectives, i.e. as the development of understandings, abilities, epistemologies, beliefs, roles and identities, and as individual, shared, and cultural processes. In the design of learning environments we will explore relationships among what is learned, how it is learned, and how learning is demonstrated. And we will look at possible roles for technology in supporting contemporary approaches to instruction, learning, and assessment. We will contrast the utility of the traditional distinction between basic and applied research with an interactive model in which research and practice mutually inform one another. This interactive model promotes research that is rooted in problems and issues that arise out of practice and the outcomes of which contribute to solutions to those problems as well as to theoretical formulations of learning and development.

Jose Melendez

Graduate of UIC LS Program & Postdoctoral Fellow in Teaching and Mentoring at UIC's Honors College
Postdoctoral Fellow in Teaching and Mentoring at the UIC’s Honors College