Education Scholarship – Part 2

By Jonathan Sherbino (@sherbino)

Building on the definitions from Tuesday, I imagine education scholarship as an umbrella term.  A sub-category is education research, including:

  • Basic / bench research (e.g. How does the brain encode information – learn?);
  • Applied research (e.g. Is simulation more efficient than direct patient contact to learn communication skills?); and
  • Inquiry (e.g. Do MCAT scores predict future performance in practice).

The parallel sub-domain is innovation, including:

  • Design (e.g. Development of a new assessment instrument);
  • Implementation (e.g. Rollout of a new community-based curriculum)
  • Evaluation (e.g. Impact of a new e-learning course)

For both education research AND innovation, the work must be built on previous theory, principles or best practices; reviewed by peers; and publicly disseminated and archived so that it can advance the field.

One last thing… a common point of confusion is the difference between scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching.  (This probably relates to the imprecision of Boyer’s initial work.) Scholarly teaching applies theory and best practices to improve the education experience of the learner. In contrast, the scholarship of teaching involves the design, implementation or evaluation of a distinct innovation that advances the field of education.

So, do you agree with this statement? “Scholarly teaching is ‘evidence-based’ teaching, while the scholarship of teaching produces the ‘evidence’?” (Based on the work of Steinert and Snell in Educational Design: A CanMEDS Guide for the Health Professions)

(BTW: I prefer using education scholarship rather than educational scholarship.  According to people far smarter than me – thanks Anne Marie Todkill – this is grammatically correct.  Apparently it is the attributive use of a noun as an adjective.)