DPLE curriculum

M. Ed. Handbook – 2014/15 edition


DPLE is a “specialism” (stream) within the University of Hong Kong’s M. Ed., and involves the equivalent of 10 courses. It is completed in 12 months (full-time mode) or 24 months (part-time mode). It has 4 Specialism Learning Outcomes that are addressed in each core course:

  1. Understand the learning sciences as a field and a foundation for educational design
  2. Ability to locate and evaluate research relevant to a question, and design a research investigation or design study
  3. Understand the major trends and issues in educational technology, awareness of the main technologies, and ability to make effective use of educational technology in teaching and learning
  4. Ability to conceive, carry out, and evaluate educational designs

Each course has more specific Course Learning Outcomes that contribute to these Specialism Learning Outcomes. Part of the assessment of each course consists of contributions to an ongoing electronic portfolio using Sites in the DPLE Google domain dple.edu.hku.hk.

We aim to create a cohort of people with diverse professional experiences, who are interested in learning and how to develop learning environments that take advantage of what we know from research about learning. typically we have professionals from Hong Kong, mainland China, and other countries in the region, and their backgrounds include teaching, school leadership, professional development, architecture, engineering, and computer science. We have people working in early years education through undergraduate education. This variety in experience is essential to the specialism.

Core course 1: The Learning Sciences (MEDD 6201)

This is the first core course and provides a survey of the learning sciences and its major approaches. Topics include: overview of research on learning; literacy research in the learning sciences; project-based learning; problem-based learning; assessment; and scaling up innovations. We start from the implications of the “How People Learn” report, explore the current evidence from studies of learning, and explore the principles and pedagogical implications of the approaches introduced.

Core course 2: Learning in the Disciplines (MEDD 6202)

While core course 1 provides a general introduction to the learning sciences, this course applies that learning to teaching in the specific courses that the participants teach. Typically we have groups that work in, for example, science education, English language teaching, teacher education, social studies, and higher education. These groupings depend on the backgrounds of the participants admitted to the DPLE specialism. Each group has a mentor who guides the group’s efforts to explore instructional models in their own subject areas, and presents a workshop for all participants. The course thus provides training in the provision of professional development for peers. We spread 8 sessions over three semesters in this course.

Core course 3: Fostering 21st Century Skills with Knowledge Building (MEDD 7108)

This course provides a “case study” of one of the approaches from the learning sciences and examines it from a variety of angles. Topics include: education in the 21st century; overview of knowledge building; knowledge-building principles; local and international examples; implications for teacher and student roles; implications for assessment; technologies for knowledge building; and related approaches.

Core course 4: Learning and Teaching with Educational Technology (MEDD 6203)

We believe that all graduates from this specialism need to be aware of the potential computer-based technologies offer for supporting learning. This course therefore provides exposure to the major frameworks for thinking about learning in a society pervaded by ICT, and to a variety of technologies. Topics include the state of technology use in schools; computers as cognitive and metacognitive tools; the technical learning environment; designing digital content for e-learning; students as content creators; online discussions; technology-enhanced inquiry environments; and mobile learning.

Core course 5: Research methods and inquiry (MEDD 6014)

This course carries double weight and has three parts. (1) Students learn the fundamentals of research in the learning sciences in the first semester. Topics include the relationship between research and educational practice; locating research publications and navigating the landscape of different types of publications; research design, validity, and integrity; measurement of learning effects; different types of study including experiments, case studies, surveys, and design studies; specific methods including interviewing and field observation; qualitative coding, content analysis, and interactive analysis; and the use of analysis to answer research questions. The output in part 1 is a draft proposal for a research study or design project.

In the second part, students revise their proposal based on feedback form the instructor and prepare a webinar on their proposal. In the third part students take practical hands-on workshops to develop their research skills.

Dissertation or Independent Project

Students then either complete a dissertation or independent project + electives. A dissertation is a research study relevant to the design of learning environments. An independent project in this specialism is a small design project that is implemented and evaluated.