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Physics Faculty and Educational Researchers: Divergent Expectations as Barriers to the Diffusion of Innovations Documents

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Physics Faculty and Educational Researchers: Divergent Expectations as Barriers to the Diffusion of Innovations 

written by Charles R. Henderson and Melissa H. Dancy

To identify barriers to the dissemination of innovative instructional strategies we conducted interviews with 5 physics instructors who represent likely users of educational research. One significant barrier appears to be that faculty and educational researchers have different expectations about how they should work together to improve student learning. This discrepancy was expressed directly (and often emotionally) by all of the instructors we interviewed. Although different instructors described different aspects of this discrepancy, we believe that they are all related to a single underlying issue: educational researchers expect to disseminate curricular innovations and have faculty adopt them with minimal changes while faculty expect researchers to work with them to adapt knowledge and materials for their unique instructional situations. We will explore this claim and the evidence found in the interview transcripts. We will also discuss implications for the educational research community.

Published February 14, 2006
Last Modified May 25, 2012

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