Blog 2 in a two-part series on knowledge mobilization. In this second blog post, I’ll focus on how you can develop your own knowledge mobilization strategy and discuss some concrete first steps you can take. I build from the three key lessons learned in the first blog post, adding what we’ve learned about effective knowledge mobilization practices from those in the field actually doing this work.
Blog 1 in a two-part series on knowledge mobilization. One of the truths I’ve learned over my time as an education researcher is that most scholars want to make a difference. Most of us got into this business because we felt we care about and want to do work that matters. We want to make a difference in the field, to what happens in schools, and to the lives of children and families.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately one in five public school students are enrolled in a school with a rural designation. Rural schools face unique challenges such as a lack of adequate resources, high transportation costs, difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers, and a shortage of professional development opportunities and early childhood services.
When researchers seek to create a product, program, or intervention to enhance educational outcomes for students, they often start from a theoretical foundation. A theory of change, or a conceptual model based in research of how a specific product can lead to a desired change, is often the launchpad for creation.
Wide use of evidence-based educational innovations has the potential to accelerate learning and enhance outcomes for all learners. However, even when educational products have evidence of effectiveness, they do not often achieve scale. In other words, they are often not broadly adopted by schools and districts.
When designing and scaling evidence-based educational products, it is critical to ensure they are relevant and accessible to the communities they aim to serve, or they might inadvertently cause harm. When creating evidence-based products, designers should gather input from, or sufficiently consider, the people most impacted by problematic practices, policies, funding allocations, and organizational cultures. Without such input, designers miss opportunities to authentically co-create products that support equitable student outcomes and meet user needs.