REL Midwest Offers Lessons Learned for Working in Collaborative Research Partnerships

Two new reports from Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest describe lessons learned from its efforts to work with states, districts, and other practitioners on identifying and addressing educational challenges.

Reflections from a Professional Learning Community for Researchers Working in Research Alliances

Conducting collaborative research is challenging — especially for researchers who have never partnered with practitioners to conduct research. To address these challenges, REL Midwest formed a professional learning community for its researchers. The researchers found that the structure provided a safe space to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their traditional research training and experiences. It also allowed them to work together to solve challenges related to the collaborative research approach. This report is a reflective piece that summarizes the REL Midwest professional learning community’s lessons learned and describes how its members worked to align available resources to the specific needs of the researchers and developed tools to help one another resolve challenges.

Establishing and Sustaining Networked Improvement Communities: Lessons from Michigan and Minnesota

Networked improvement communities are a relatively new type of collaborative research partnership between researchers and educators. With facilitation from researchers, educators identify problems of practice, the factors that drive the problems, and promising solutions. They then engage in iterative cycles of designing, implementing, testing, and redesigning solutions, while learning from variation across the settings in the networked improvement community. This report shares REL Midwest’s lessons learned from working with educators in Michigan and Minnesota to establish and sustain networked improvement communities, and offers guidance to researchers and educators as they form networked improvement communities in different contexts.