Design based implementation research (DBIR) is a type of partnership work in which multiple stakeholders co-design interventions in order to improve classroom learning at scale.

The DBIR approach focuses on understanding how educational innovations are implemented within local settings as a way to address the persistent challenges of efficacy, scalability, and sustainability. When a program that works in one place fails to take hold in another, for example, DBIR examines the reasons why. When innovations are tried within one or a few classrooms, DBIR partners study and work together to build the knowledge and capacity to organize research and development in a way that supports sustained change in systems.

Guiding Tips and Questions

“Design based implementation research answers the question of how we make policies and programs work in real educational settings—how to design programs and policies to work effectively across a wide range of settings.”

Bill Penuel University of Colorado

Work Samples

The Learn DBIR website includes resource bundles, which describe DBIR processes and provide samples of DBIR-generated tools and products:

  • Co-Design Tools

    Co-design is a process by which practitioners and researchers come together to either adapt or create and test new curriculum materials, programs, or technology tools. This resource bundle presents research and practical tools for organizing co-design projects.

  • District B Feedback/Recommendation Report

    This resource bundle presents strategies for using DBIR to support districts’ development of capacity for continuous improvement.

  • NSELA 2015 Workshop “iHub: A Research-Practice Partnership to Design New NGSS Curriculum

    This resource bundle provides presentations, examples, and tools to support districts leaders in partnering with researchers and tool developers to adapt or develop new curriculum materials aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. This bundle provides resources to understand the processes and tools used within a DBIR project.

  • 90-Day Cycle Handbook

    This handbook, produced by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, provides a guide for improvement efforts. It details a 90-day cycle in which all stakeholders re-conceptualize problems; prototype processes, tools, or specific practices to address these problems; and test them to gauge their efficacy. The handbook describes ways groups can leverage and integrate knowledge from researchers and practitioners.