Category Archives: Research Raves

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Important New Research for the VET Sector

NCVER has just released three papers making up the report by Francesca Beddie and Linda Simon ‘VET applied research: driving VET’s role in the innovation system’.  The report sets out to not only provide the rationale for investing time and money in developing an increased applied research capability in the VET sector, but also provides some useful examples as to how this is already occurring and how it can be extended.  One of the papers focuses on building the capability of the educators and other professionals in VET, through a developmental framework.  This framework below identifies areas of skills and capability development that may be required by individuals or teams involved in applied research.  It also acknowledges that many of those in the sector may already have these capabilities but have not adapted them to an applied research role.  It is a useful reference point for many educators and a framework for professional development for organisations, as well as industry and community partners.



Applied research in VET: what do you think?

Dear Educator Hub readers

We are seeking your views to help us frame and conduct a project on applied research in VET. Our research Positioned for the ideas boom: where does the VET workforce fit? is being funded by the National Vocational Education and Training Research (NVETR) Program. We are investigating VET’s involvement in the national innovation system and will be mapping the skills and capabilities the VET workforce needs to conduct research and foster innovation in Australian industry. We are particularly interested in whether VET has a role to play in bridging the gap between inventions or innovations and their application in the workplace.

First to definitions. Is the term ‘applied research’ the right one to describe the activity we will be examining? Or might ‘research’ be a word that is off-putting to some VET practitioners, who do not see their work as teachers or their industry engagement as also a research activity. They might describe that work as being ‘red’ while we are talking about ‘vermillion’ (as Robert Luke, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, George Brown College, Toronto has put it). These different labels may be describing essentially the same thing; on the other hand, it may turn out that there is considerable variation.

Would we be better distinguishing R&D activities in VET by adopting the terms used by the OECD’s Frascati Manual (2015, p. 45):

  • Applied research is original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective.
  • Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes.

Or should we talk about scholarship, drawing on Ernest Boyer’s 1990 model, which identifies four types of scholarly activity:

(1)         the scholarship of discovery, including original research that advances knowledge

(2)         the scholarship of integration or the synthesis of information across disciplines, across topics within a discipline, or across time

(3)         the scholarship of application or engagement that involves sharing disciplinary expertise with peers

(4)         the scholarship of teaching and learning.

What do you think? And what are you doing?

We want to hear from VET teachers about their ‘applied research’ or ‘scholarly practice’ and about whether you think the system has the potential to be a more active player in the ‘ideas boom’.

We’d love to see a discussion about these issues on the Educator Hub but also feel free to contact us by email:

Francesca Beddie:

Linda Simon:


Boyer, EL 1990, Scholarship reconsidered: priorities of the professoriate, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

OECD, 2015 Frascati Manual 2015, Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development, OECD Paris

And present they did!

imageThe AVETRA 2016 Conference with the theme Collaboration, Innovation, Prosperity was a great success.  Together with the impressive keynote speakers the workshops had some really interesting, and thought-provoking research to share.  I personally was most impressed with the large number of participants who are interested in developing an early researcher community of practice.  The Early Researcher Breakfast was a great success.

Hopefully this website will provide a great opportunity for people to spruik a little about their research, and also to get some support at those most challenging moments in research.  Of course, those moments can come from the time you are curious and trying to establish your enquiry, right through to the time when you are disseminating your research.  Don’t hesitate to jump on here (just leave a reply to this if you wish) to access support from other early researchers, and from some very generous, much more experienced researchers.

Members Present at AVETRA Annual Conference

logo of AVETRA


How many members will be presenting their research at the AVETRA Conference from 20 to 22 April at North Sydney Institute?  Working through the program, I count at least 16.   How many can you identify?  I am sure their presentations will all be wonderful Research Raves.  Maybe some of them would like to spruik a little here on the AVETRA Educator Hub to give us a sneak preview.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Conference next week.

By the way, I am doing a Speed Dating session on reflective practitioner research.