Research in the School of Education

The School of Education is recognised nationally and internationally for its research.

We are consistently rated at world standard in the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia.

Our researchers address complex issues in educational policy and practice that matter to urban, regional and rural communities.

We engage in high-level conversations, pushing the boundaries of what is possible to create a more resilient, equitable and just society. 

We deliver high-quality research training, skills development and support to local education professionals, supervisors, students and external stakeholders.

Our Master of Education (Research) and Doctor of Philosophy give students the opportunity to undertake problem-based research to solve education problems and improve learning outcomes.

La Trobe has also recently opened up its industry PhD program, traditionally available to science and health students, to students embarking on research in Education.

And, we work closely with our partners to develop specialist postgraduate, professional development and higher degree opportunities for the profession.

Our research aligns with La Trobe’s research themes: Healthy people, families and communities and Social change and equity.

Our Associate Dean, Research and Industry Engagement is Professor Therese Keane and our Director of Graduate Research is Dr Kate O’Connor.

Research areas

By developing innovative and progressive research, we are helping to transform the education profession and improve outcomes for all learners and their communities.

Our research is grouped into three key areas:

Area Lead: Professor Therese Keane
Associate Lead: Dr Stefan Schutt

Our researchers examine and develop methods and practices of teaching (pedagogies) that demonstrate impact.

These pedagogies are cutting-edge, context-based, promote new ways of learning, and meet the needs of students. They focus on educational futures: educational possibilities, trends, and scenarios with an eye to the future of teaching practice. This encompasses advancements in technology, changes in teaching methods and student demographics and skill needs, as well as shifts in societal and global priorities that impact education.

In doing so, the Impactful Pedagogies area takes an inclusive view of pedagogical approaches and forms of evidence in determining ‘impact’. In doing so, we explore:

  • pedagogical approaches in a range of social, cultural, virtual, outdoor and classroom learning contexts
  • the potential of digital technologies for learning and teaching
  • training digitally literate teachers who understand (and respond to) the ongoing and profound impact of digital technologies on students’ learning and lives
  • ways of centring First Nations knowledges, methods, and perspectives in our work

Area Lead: Associate Professor Tanya Serry
Associate Lead: Dr Kylie Murphy

Learning sciences is the interdisciplinary body of knowledge about how learning happens, drawing upon cognitive and developmental psychology to inform teaching and learning design.

Our researchers investigate how learning occurs in learners of all ages and at all levels of expertise. This includes investigating how preservice and practising teachers best acquire knowledge and skills to maximise their effectiveness as educators.

We explore:

  • applications of learning sciences in various educational settings (early childhood education to teacher education) and across the curriculum (early years literacy to higher order thinking skills)
  • uses of research evidence and assessment data to inform impactful pedagogical practice
  • methods of transferring evidence-based knowledge into classroom practice to strengthen student outcomes
  • how school-based change occurs in the application of evidence in classroom teaching and how this journey impacts teachers and students

Area lead: Dr Babak Dadvand
Associate lead: Dr Urmee Chakma

Social equity is an inter-disciplinary field of study. It addresses the role of education in relation to social advantages and disadvantages for learners from diverse backgrounds. Our research investigates a wide range of factors – including geographical location, Indigeneity, ethnicity, ability/disability, gender and sexuality and socio-economic status - that can impact access, participation, and outcomes in education.

We explore:

  • What teaching strategies and classroom practices can positively impact the experiences and outcomes of students in contexts of social, material and historical disadvantages
  • How the teaching workforce can be best supported in their initial teacher education and during school placement to serve in diverse urban, regional, rural and hard-to-staff schools.
  • What the most constructive forms of engagement with students, parents, schools and local communities look like to support learning of learners from socially and historically marginalised backgrounds