At the nexus of learning and innovation

Student highlight: Dwayne Ripley

Dwayne comes from a background working in edtech startups. He is now finishing his Masters dissertation in the Masters of Learning Sciences and Technology program, where he is studying how learning sciences research gets applied in industry.

Dwayne Ripley

What are you researching?

Dwayne: I study the differences in how edtech entrepreneurs access and apply research in the learning sciences.

What motivates your research?

Dwayne: My research has been motivated by my own personal experiences in edtech startups as well as a practical desire to help inform strategies for making research in the learning sciences accessible to a larger demographic.

In my edtech startup experiences, I have felt the pull between rapid product development and building a research-informed product, as well as the pull between using research for product validation and using research to challenge the efficacy of a product for iterative improvement. Rapid iteration in startups can often come at the expense of reliability and validity, and I am motivated to use my knowledge of the learning sciences to support more effective product development, user research, product scaling, and product evaluation into the educational technology culture.

In my edtech startup experiences, I have felt the pull between rapid product development and building a research-informed product.

What do you hope to show?

Dwayne: I hope to document the conceptions edtech entrepreneurs have of research in the learning sciences and how they have experienced accessing and applying research from the learning sciences. More importantly, I hope to show the variance in how they learn how to access and apply this knowledge as they move across activity systems. I would like for the knowledge gained from this study to inform more effective designs for edtech entrepreneurial education.

What books, articles, or people have had the greatest influence on who you are as a researcher?

Dwayne: I am fairly new to research and although my interest extends across a range of theoretical perspectives and the work of many researchers in the learning sciences, the greatest influence on me has been personal interactions with the community of researchers at CRLI.

My advisor, Lina Markauskaite, has helped me to understand the importance of effectively framing problems, and the importance of matching research methodology to the researcher. In addition to her extensive knowledge and insight, I appreciate the human aspect she brings to research. I am also motivated by her desire to increase the reach of research in the learning sciences to real world applications. My interest in becoming a member of the edtech community was influenced by Michael Jacobson’s interest in the area. His insight into the potential for design-based research as a boundary infrastructure between researchers and educational technology startups is something I would like to research further. Lastly, Peter Reimann’s has helped me to better understand how to apply and measure research effectively. Although I still have a lot to learn, interactions with Peter have helped me to shift my mindset from a student who absorbs knowledge to a researcher who applies and creates knowledge.

I look forward to learning what other insights I may gain from interacting more with the extensive community of researchers at CRLI as I continue to define my identity as a researcher.