S1-CT3-4 - Analysing the Learning by Developing Action Model in HE Computing

2. Research-to-Practice Work In Progress
Taina Lintilä1 , Dr. Mark Zarb2
1 PhD student, Robert Gordon University
2 Supervisor, Robert Gordon University

Learning by Developing Action Model in Computing studies


Work in progress. The purpose of the study is to find out whether the Learning by Developing (LbD) Action Model is a suitable teaching approach to be used within a computing science curriculum. The study will be carried out in two higher education institutions: Laurea University of Applied Sciences (Laurea) in Finland and Robert Gordon University (RGU) in the UK. The subjects of the study are computing students, lecturers and other staff members in both of these higher education institutions from a pre-determined set of study modules.

The research strategy chosen for this study is action research, which is discipline-based research conducted by a teacher in order to seek information and change his or her practice in the future (Ferrance 2000). This is a process whereby participants systematically and carefully review their own teaching practices using research methods (Taber 2013: 288-289). Educational action research can be attended by, the entire school's faculty, a group of teachers sharing a common problem, or just a single teacher (Sagor 2000, 3).

LbD has been used as the main teaching method in Laurea since 2004, forming part of its underlying strategic model. Rajj (2012) identified a pragmatic concept of learning as the basis for the LbD approach. Furthermore, Raij and Taatila have demonstrated LbD’s philosophical connections to John Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy in their research. According to the pragmatic concept of knowledge, the purpose of education is not only to increase general knowledge, but to answer what and why should be learned and what learning is used for. The world is extremely complex and contains many variables that interact with each other. As we strive for better solutions in new situations, a pragmatic approach to learning also emphasizes the importance and value of continuous learning (Raij & Taatila 2012.) Nowadays, pragmatism-based learning approaches are of greater value than in the LbD creation phase. (Rauhala 2020).

The first set of research data has been collected from students at Laurea through formative interviews and learning diaries across a full semester in the 2019-20 academic session. Thematic interviews were used as a method for collecting research data from experts, lecturers and clients. Following an analaysis of this data, an LbD guide will be produced and piloted in the the 2020-21 academic year at RGU, which will include data collection and further analysis on the suitability of this approach. The purpose of this research is to further develop the LbD and examine whether it can be implemented successfully in RGU. The aim of this study is to identify further development for LbD to ensure it maintains an international perspective for future needs.


Ferrance, E. 2000. Action Research. Themes in Education. Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory. Brown University.
Taber, K. S. 2013. Action Research and the Academy: seeking to legitimise a ‘different’ form of research Teacher Development, 17(2), 288-300.
Sagor, R. 2000. Guiding School Improvement with Action Research. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria. USA.
Learning by Developing: LbD Guide. 2011. Vantaa: Laurea University of Applied Sciences.
Raij, K. 2012. Summarising the basis of LbD for further development – review. Laurealaisella väylällä.
Raij, K. & Taatila, V. 2012. Philosophical Review of Pragmatism as a Basis for Learning by Developing Pedagogy. Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 44, No.8
Rauhala, P. 2020. LbD Laurean pedagogiikan kulmakivenä. Laurea Journal.