Thesis theoretical framework

Organizing Academic Research Papers: Theoretical Framework

Design as a verb entails the process of imaginative formation of an entity.

What is it all about?

Design as a noun is concerned with the specification of such an entity. Design can be seen as an attempt to solve a known problem, a view characterized by the beliefs that a problem exists and is identifiable and that the success of a design is related to how well it solves the problem. Design can be seen as an attempt to solve an unknown problem, implying that understanding the problem is part of the design process. Design can be seen as a learning process where actions that can lead to improvements to the current situation in the eyes of stakeholders are discovered.

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Design can be seen as a result of inspiration, i. Design can be seen as growing an object, progressively improving its fit with its environment and purpose. The verb design in my practice is an iterative process of development, accompanied by trialling, feedback and evaluation to determine the focus for further improvement. The mutability of designs may be promoted by their expression in computer formats, which offer ready correction and change.

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With the advent of computer programs, many designs can be expressed in the computer language or information system directly, although not all such languages make such designs accessible. This is the domain of Learning Design Koper , where one possible benefit is that the design may become enacted through the computer to guide a student on a learning trajectory.

This immaturity means that Learning Design is not territory which I have explored in any detail in my practice, preferring designs to provide infrastructure and tools for human decision making in a freer sense. I regard learning as less likely to succeed when too tightly prescribed and in its nature, a creative activity which benefits from openness in outcome rather than to be restricted to such sequences with too closely focussed learning outcomes. Re-use is rarely possible as the context, conditions and preferences of teachers and learners are so varied.

Nevertheless, in my practice the designed entities have all employed some element of computer technology to enhance learning.

Testing research

Design can be seen as growing an object, progressively improving its fit with its environment and purpose. Thank you very much Sarah for your lovely writing on the sample theoretical framework. Thank you, Dissertation Editor! Kamara Reply. Technology in education is often positioned as its servant, a tool to help achieve pedagogic ends already determined without technology. Your article was so much helpful in my academic move.

In my conception of design as a noun, it is a mutable specification:. I would extend this definition so that a design may be that of an information resource, tool, activity, environment or educational organisation. In my practice, I have learned and employed a wide range skills including composition of words, graphic design, desktop publishing, video editing and computer programming.

I have also tackled the design and making of computer programs, web sites, films, furniture, office spaces, online spaces and rooms to support education. Defined by Buckminster Fuller , Design Science brought systematisation to the design process, and became understood as the scientific study of design Gregory, Such a framework would allow us to capture the structure of educational situations, the challenges they engender, as well as the means of addressing them, in forms which should empower learners and teachers to control their practice as much as it allows researchers to inspect it scientifically.

Mor , Educational designs I have engaged with have been complex and iterative, and in a research context could be considered as design studies as described by Shavelson et al:. Instead, the iterative view recognises the unpredictability of the design of education where people, their diversity, complexity and culture are part of the design space, not simply users of an end product. It is not enough to design a computer program which performs to specification, tests correctly and is viewed as satisfactory - in education such software is subject to the richness of human discourse, re-interpretation and creativity.

In the process of iterative design, such issues can be explored and the design improved with the evidence gathered to make the most effective educational outcome in a dynamic context. This section focusses on the individual learner perspective that informs my practice. The learner in my practice has been central to improving the design of materials and courses, but not without understanding the social context. Dewey convincingly argues the importance of this in his declaration of pedagogical creed:.

Making sense of the individual learner - their capacities, interests and habits - has helped me to develop a model of learning, Expressive Constructivism, which operates on the foundation of the concepts and theories expressed in the following sections.

The capacities to know, decide and act are represented by learners' knowledge. Knowledge is a term that is naturally confused in meaning, between the kind of knowledge which individuals have in their mind in order to think, make decisions and perform, and that which is shared in speaking, writing and other media and used by society to coordinate meaning and action. The secondary meaning, that of externalised or articulated knowledge, is not normally functionally independent of human interpretation, but may be viewed as essentially information. Piaget's argument for biological stages in the development of learner's knowledge, linked to age, is developed by Vygotsky's more fluid perspective Wertsch , where learner's capacity may be greater when supported by another, named the zone of proximal development.

In both cases, learner's knowledge is argued to be modified by on-going experiences. The Expressive Constructivism analysis presented in this dissertation simply proposes that the experience that develops learners' knowledge is more specifically the expression and evaluation of learner's own knowledge by learners themselves, with varying levels of support. Intrinsic feedback is that which is experienced through the consequences of our actions close to the internal evaluation in my analysis [ A1 ].

Extrinsic feedback that which is made from others' communications and observations close to the natural evaluation in my analysis [ A1 ]. Laurillard goes on to identify the importance of the learner's production of some representation of what they have learned close to the natural and formal expression in my analysis [ A1 ] and continues with:. Laurillard does point out some attention has been paid to this in the context of collaborative learning, but her point reassures me that the analysis I have made [ A1 ] is a useful contribution.

In my view 'facts' are the simplest form of knowledge that enable the learner to respond to simple questions of definition. In logical terms, they represent connections between two or more atomic concepts, for example 7 times 8 is 56 connects 7, 8 and Such facts are interconnected with others, such as 56 divided by 8 is 7 and thus can become metal models. They are important in that they empower higher order knowledge, but becoming less vital as we are increasingly supported by technology in the form of calculators, online dictionaries and searchable information.

Performance is shown by recall or recognition of sounds, acts, definitions or simple relationships. Skills are the standard, well-established procedures to be carried out by the learner when applicable situations are recognised.

The goal of a theoretical framework

Performance is demonstrated by carrying out the procedure in front of others or by recording steps in the process. Mental models are complex and dynamic relationships which can be employed to explain and predict more complex issues and may be based on networks of facts and skills. As such they are the most important form of knowledge to be improved through the expression and evaluation argued for in the Expressive Constructivism model of learning [ A1 ] and thus are the subject of this discussion here.

Facts and skills could be argued to be the simplest mental models, but I prefer to identify them separately and as building blocks. My belief in the importance of mental models to educational design is based on Donald Norman's view:. I contend that mental models enable explanation, prediction and thus decision-making and action in a much wider sphere than Norman's focus on the interaction with technology.

Theoretical Framework

Nevertheless, it is in the practice of developing better user-interfaces in educational software that my journey as a practitioner started. I found that by extending the concept of mental model to embrace a wide variety of modalities sensory modes such as sound, vision, touch and genre expressive modes, such as narrative, diagram, play or poem , it could provide a basis for understanding learners' knowledge in all its guises. I accept the constructivist view, that knowledge is created in the mind of the learner by their own mental activity in response to experience and information Kolb In my view, at the heart of this is the establishment and improvement of mental models.

Mental models are not only faulty as they continue to develop through refinement , but also unconscious in the sense that they may be unknown and even their nature unknowable to the person employing them. Nevertheless they may provide effective capability and thus form the basis of tacit knowledge Polyani I do not believe that it is fruitful, especially for the design practitioner, to spend too long identifying mental models' structural properties nor attempting to use mental models as a basis for formal prediction or explanation.

To add further futility or utility if this is seen instead as a teaching strategy , the act of discovering mental models, through dialogue with learners, can change the mental model itself Rogers et al. Further research in this area may be ultimately successful, but is a diversion in terms of my design practice.

Clarity about the neural structure of the brain may indicate useful design issues, but often on a different level than that of thinking and learning. Instead, in my design practice I have favoured a more subjective lens for examining mental models through introspection Kind , the self examination of thoughts and imagination which can support our understanding.

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  • Conceptual framework?

This kind of self-report is, I believe, no more or less useful than any other evidence we gain from human behaviour, and clearly needs to be handled with care. In my own experience, I am aware that I imagine a timeline of numbers when comparing numerical values, which I suggest has grown organically as I have developed numerical understanding. The numbers 1 to 10 are arranged in a semi-circle with a slightly tighter bend after 5. Another sharp bend between 10 and 12 leads to a gentle spiral from there until 30 after which an even more gentle curve leads to After a final line, almost straight, leads to and beyond.

These mental models help me to estimate values and relate numerical symbols to real-world phenomena and decision making. If I attempt to draw this model on paper, as a conceptual model, it soon fails, since the mental perception often transcends three-dimensional space, showing and revealing features dynamically as needed.

An external representation would be in the form of a concept map relating the three numbers 7, 8 and 56 as nodes with directional arcs labelled with the relevant mathematical operations. The full model takes in all the factors up to 12 - in my day you learnt up to the 12 times table - and some other exceptional numbers beyond.

Students need to organize their ideas and findings in a specific format. The work starts with a formal theoretical framework because it describes your dissertation and its basic purpose or other research studies. It should provide a good model to conduct your research, analyze its results, interpret your data, and report on relevant information. You should understand how to use a theory to frame research questions.

This general guide will help you prepare a theoretical framework after considering your project and choosing the structure that suit specific needs perfectly. Find the right definition. People formulate all theories to predict, explain, identify, and understand phenomena or extend and challenge their key knowledge within the limits of related critical assumptions. It describes and introduces your theory to explain the importance of your research problem.

The theoretical framework: what and how?

Any theoretical framework consists of different concepts, their definitions, and references to existing theories that you use for a particular study. Its nature is to demonstrate your understanding of concepts and theories in terms of your chosen topic and based on broader areas of knowledge.

Review pertinent studies or your course reading and search for suitable factors because a final choice depends on the ease of application, appropriateness, and explanatory power of your theory. A theoretical framework specifies the key variables that have an impact on your phenomenon and highlights the necessity to examine how they differ. They lead to confusion because they can be vague.