Our research

Educational research at Deakin is based on critical collaborations with key stakeholders, international scholars and agencies including government, industry and schools.  We engage in purposeful, strategic knowledge transfer through scholarly publications and professional forums which impact education policy and practice.

Research excellence

Researchers regularly win grants for significant research projects. Our funders include the Australian Research Council (ARC), and external organisations such as government agencies, private industry, the not-for-profit sector and other universities around the world. We conduct educational research ‘the Deakin way’ – prioritising research for education rather than research on education.

In the Australian Research Council (ARC)’s 2018 national Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment, Deakin University gained a score of 4 out of 5 (‘Above world standard’) for Education, illustrating the capacity, reputation and impact of Deakin's educational researchers. In its inaugural Engagement and Impact Assessment, which presents the outcomes of its nationwide assessment of university research engagement and impact, the ARC also gave Deakin University the highest possible rating ('High') for research impact in the discipline of Education.

Research themes

REDI has has more than 50 actively involved researchers aligned to four major research themes.

Education Governance and Policy for Sustainable Societies

Education is key to secure, just and sustainable societies. Research in this program draws from interdisciplinary fields, including policy, management and technology studies and critical sociology, to investigate higher education, vocational education, schools and early childhood as well as informal education and workplace settings. It aims to understand the impacts of policies, governance practices and reform efforts at global, national, regional and institutional levels. It seeks to inform practices of policy and governance to promote sustainable systems and societies that are premised on reciprocity, mutual accountability, security of employment and safety and diversity in workplaces.

Learners in a Digital World

The theme Learners in a Digital World acknowledges that learning occurs across complex formal and informal contexts. It is concerned with exploring the diverse effects of digitalisation on everyday life, identity, education systems and the broader organisation of civic and political society. REDI researchers generate deep knowledge about learners and learning across early childhood, young people’s worlds, higher and adult education, and teacher education. Our concern is with social injustice and inequality through the effects of platformization and datafication. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, our researchers explore how individuals and the multi-layered structure of the complex digital world interact to reframe learner identities, where and how learning occurs, and the nature of knowledge production. We work creatively within innovative learning environments to understand and advance the ways that the digital affords opportunities and supports learners throughout their lives, learning and work.

Diversity and Social Justice in Education

Educating for diversity and social justice is a key public goal of education. This research theme takes a critical and transformative approach to this goal that recognises the complex and growing economic, cultural, digital, spatial and political inequalities within and beyond Australia. Our research provides insight into the structures and practices that both undermine and enable educating for diversity towards a more inclusive and just citizenry. We focus on how injustices are compounded for groups marginalised on the basis of Indigeneity, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, race, age, geography and ethnicity and how these are transformed by, for example, inclusive policy, education leadership, teaching and learning and social relations. We seek to inform policy and practice within all spheres and levels of education to create a more equitable and inclusive world.

STEM Education for Sustainable Futures

This theme foregrounds the potential and challenges associated with disciplinary and interdisciplinary reasoning and learning, acknowledging the critical role of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in educating for sustainable, equitable environmental, societal and work futures. Research in this theme is strongly grounded in the practices of educators, institutions and systems, and committed to innovative inter/disciplinary pedagogies, transformative curricular practices, teacher identities and professional learning, and school and system change. Our research focus extends from early childhood to adult learning settings. Associated with an ethically informed futures focus our research seeks to develop capabilities such as critical and creative reasoning, modelling and design associated with contemporary STEM practices, student agency and citizenship, and equity in relation to STEM participation.

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Alfred Deakin Professor Russell Tytler discusses representations in STEM education