Design-based research: What it is and why it matters to studying online learning

Christopher Hoadley, Fabio C. Campos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ever-changing nature of online learning foregrounds the limits of separating research from design. In this article, we take the difficulty of making generalizable conclusions about designed environments as a core challenge of studying the educational psychology of online learning environments. We argue that both research and design can independently produce empirically derived knowledge, and we examine some of the configurations that allow us to simultaneously invent and study designed online learning environments. We revisit design-based research (DBR) methods and their epistemology, and discuss how they contribute various types of usable knowledge. Rather than compromising objectivity, we argue for how design researchers can acknowledge their intent and, in so doing, promote ways in which research and design can not only produce better interventions but also transform people and systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-220
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Psychologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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