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Experimenting with Experimentation: Rethinking The Role of Experimentation in Educational Design

by   Mohi Reza, et al.

What if we take a broader view of what it means to run an education experiment? In this paper, we explore opportunities that arise when we think beyond the commonly-held notion that the purpose of an experiment is to either accept or reject a pre-defined hypothesis and instead, reconsider experimentation as a means to explore the complex design space of creating and improving instructional content. This is an approach we call experiment-inspired design. Then, to operationalize these ideas in a real-world experimentation venue, we investigate the implications of running a sequence of interventions teaching first-year students "meta-skills": transferable skills applicable to multiple areas of their lives, such as planning, and managing stress. Finally, using two examples as case studies for meta-skills interventions (stress-reappraisal and mental contrasting with implementation intentions), we reflect on our experiences with experiment-inspired design and share six preliminary lessons on how to use experimentation for design.


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