Chris Dede. Developing a Research Agenda for Educational Games and
Simulations, 2011, Harvard University, Computer games and instruction, pp. 233-250. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
In his 2011 blog entitled: “Developing a Research Agenda for Educational Games and simulations”, Harvard university research Professor Chris Dede advances a multidimensional framework for guiding substantive research on the effectively researching educational games and simulations. Mr. Dede suggests that there are five components required for an effective research agenda. He lists them as: 1.)usable knowledge; 2.)collective research 3.) what works 4.) when 5.) for whom.
Dr. Dede’s blog is very effective in identifying some of the key deliverables that stakeholders will require whether they are investors in, or consumers of the end product. Dr. Dede makes a critical point when he states, “many of these studies are summative evaluations masquerading as research.” and “(even) when all these (research) problems are overcome, often the population in the study is narrow, the teacher characteristics are optimal, or the context is unrepresentative; each of these generates major threats to generalizability. He instead propose a “distributed research” approach to large problems where, “funders could create portfolios in which
various studies cover different portions of this sophisticated scholarly
territory, with complementary research outcomes enabling full
coverage and collective theory-building.”
Dr. Dede’s proposed research agenda for educational game and simulation research has direct and significant value and application for the academy which is educational technology because the rigor of the challenge to which core research question are subject is ultimately because as Dr. Dede states, “evaluation studies are a poor place to stop in research on an innovation and should be only a small part of a research agenda, not the preponderance of work, as they typically do not contribute much to
theory and do not provide nuanced understandings of what works, when, for whom, and under what conditions.” If educational technology is to take its place as meaningful contributor in the modern educational arena it must prove itself in a lasting and substantive way that has ongoing value for both the instructors and the students who are trying to navigate through a very rapidly evolving environment.