Organizing Research and Development at the Intersection of Learning, Implementation, and Design

William R. Penuel, Barry J. Fishman, Britte Haugen Cheng, Nora Sabelli


This paper describes elements of an approach to research and development called design-based implementation research. The approach represents a significant expansion of design research, which typically focuses on classrooms, to develop and test innovations that foster alignment and coordination of supports for improving teaching and learning in classrooms. As in policy research, policy and program implementation are key foci of theoretical development and analysis. What distinguishes the approach from both traditional design research and policy research is the presence of four key elements within a project: (1) a focus on persistent problems of practice from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives, (2) a commitment to iterative, collaborative design, (3) a concern with developing theory related to both classroom learning and implementation through systematic inquiry, and (4) a concern with developing capacity for sustaining change in systems.

NOTE: A Full-Text Open Access version of the final version of this article is available at


Penuel, William R., Barry J. Fishman, Britte Haugan Cheng, and Nora Sabelli. “Organizing Research and Development at the Intersection of Learning, Implementation, and Design.” Educational Researcher, October 1, 2011. doi:10.3102/0013189X11421826.


policy design, policy implementation

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

@Annual Review of Policy Design ISSN: ISSN 2291-6989