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Sustaining and Scaling Educational Innovations: Sharing Experiences and Challenges from Singapore   

Discuss this presentation on facebookProf. Chee-Kit Looi
Professor Chee-Kit Looi
Head, Centre of Excellence for Learning Innovation (COELI), National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore

Time : 16 June 2012, Saturday, 9:00 - 9:55 am
Venue : Multi-purpose Room 01, Level 3, Main Library, HKU
Medium of instruction : English



Chair: Dr. Allan YUEN

Speaker: Prof. Chee-Kit LOOI



Within the educational research community, many research projects focused on designing or establishing the efficacy of innovations that work well within specific contexts.  They typically face the research-practice gap when it comes to changing or transforming practices in schools and other contexts for learning, and to scaling up to meet the needs of a broader audience. Such research projects are also not organized to address the challenge of systemic improvement. Research-practice partnerships go in tandem with short-term funding of grants and program initiatives at foundations and government agencies. The broad challenge for funding and government agencies is: how can funding policies and mechanisms help to encourage and sustain successful research and implementation studies that have the potential to bridge research-prac¬tice gap? The challenge to the academic community is: what kinds of reward mechanisms can encourage researchers to take on research challenges that seek to address real problems of practitioners?

Scaling research in education is important since it counts in both research and practice. The specific challenge to us as researchers is: how can our work lead to understanding the processes of designing and enacting innovations that can impact peer-researchers, practitioners and policy-makers? One primary goal of scaling research is, while keeping abreast of the state-of-the-art breakthroughs in educational research, to design and enact interventions and studies in various situations that provide compelling evidence of what works and what does not, in addressing the learning needs of diverse populations of students. It studies how the fidelity of implementation can be balanced with adaptation to dynamic local contexts.

I will draw upon some of our Design-based Implementation Research work in Singapore schools to help frame thinking and discussion about (1) the process of engaging various stakeholders in school-based innovation work, (2) taking a “design-based” approach by working collaboratively with practitioners in designing and studying systemic change efforts, (3) researchers taking an expansive view to address the tensions related to the research-practice gap. I will also share my vision of the new Centre for Scaling, Translation and Commercialization in NIE which I will head from July 2012 onwards. 


Chee-Kit Looi was the Founding Head of Learning Sciences Lab from January 2004 to June 2008, the first research centre devoted to the study of the sciences of learning in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, he is the Head, Centre of Excellence for Learning Innovation (COELI). He is the PI or co-PI of several research projects funded by the National Research Foundation, Singapore.  His research has created some inroads into impacting school practices. His work on rapid collaborative learning has created routine practices of collaborative work in a primary school for over two years, and in two secondary schools for one year. These schools have sustained or plan to sustain the innovations on their own initiatives. His research on seamless and mobile learning has made good progress toward creating a model of 1:1 computing in schools. His work created and transformed the curricula of Primary 3 and 4 science in a primary school in Singapore so that they can harness the affordances of mobile devices for inquiry learning. Because of the good research outcomes, the school has decided to scale-up its 1:1 implementation to different grade levels.

Over the years, Chee-Kit has given keynote addresses in international conferences held in the US, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. He is a member of the executive committee of the International AI & Education Society, editorial member of the Journal of CAL, the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, and the IEEE Transactions in Learning Technologies. He was the past president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Computers in Education, and a Steering Committee and founder member of the Global Chinese Society on Computers in Education.


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Last modified on 21 Jun 2012
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