Our research provides innovative, pragmatic and original approaches to the consideration of local and global educational issues.

We are generating and applying new ideas in context and informing various aspects of curriculum and pedagogical ideas embedded in context of equity and social justice.

Research programs

Our academic staff and research students are striving for excellence, within a framework of ethical behaviour, social responsibility and with relevant quality assurance procedures in place.

They are engaged in projects focused in the areas of:

  • early childhood
  • curriculum and pedagogy as complex conversations
  • learning in, through and beyond the workplace
  • teacher education for diversity
  • youth work.

Our focus is on applied research. At the strategic level, VU's distinctive research role is collaborative research oriented towards the creation of new knowledge and transfer of knowledge in our local and international education communities.

Research in the College of Education is concerned with the creation of new knowledge within a framework of rigorous and reflective scholarship. We aim to bring together research, theory and practice.

To find out more about current research projects, visit the Centre for International Research on Education Systems (CIRES).

Research projects

Research projects in the College of Education include studies about:

  • early childhood education and global childhoods
  • social inclusion
  • issues of youth in society
  • the economics of education and the impact of different approaches to the distribution of education resources
  • identity, difference and diversity
  • teaching and learning in formal and informal learning contexts
  • teacher education for diversity
  • vocational education and training
  • workforce development and lifelong learning
  • problem-based enquiry and learning
  • digital pedagogies and the role of new technologies in education
  • the arts in education
  • sustainability and science education.

Our multidisciplinary approach to education reform incorporates expertise from:

Featured research project – alternative education for young Australians

Professor Kitty te Riele published Putting the Jigsaw Together: Flexible Learning Programs in Australia (PDF 1.7MB), a landmark report on ‘who gets what’ and ‘what works and why’ in the flexible learning sector in Australia.

The report, along with 8 in depth case studies, is the culmination of a 2-year national research project funded by the Ian Potter Foundation and supported by the Dusseldorp Foundation.

Flexible learning programs have become a vital alternative for students who are at risk of not completing their education for a variety of complex reasons. The sector currently consists of more than 900 programs, having educated more than 70,000 marginalised young people.

Programs operate in mainstream schools, as part of TAFE or ACE, and as separate stand-alone programs. One of the project’s main achievements was to produce an overarching framework for quality flexible learning programs in Australia to guide and inform every program’s approach.

Kitty also believes the newly developed database, available on the Dusseldorp Forum website, will noticeably increase the public’s awareness of flexible learning programs.

"We’ve produced a practical resource in the form of a new searchable database to help potential students find a program for themselves but also to assist fellow programs in establishing a more cohesive network within the flexible learning sector. Learning from different approaches will be vital to strengthen the sector in the future," said Kitty.


Research partnerships

We have strong local, national and international collaborations with schools and other educational partners. We use these to evaluate the educational success of different teaching and learning approaches. Our active collaborations include:

  • University of Texas El Paso
  • Hong Kong Institute of Education
  • National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

Graduate research opportunities

Research scholarships

Scholarships may be available for research in this area. For further information on current research scholarships for local and international students, visit scholarships for research students, or externally funded scholarships.

Contact us

For information on academic opportunities or supervision in this area, please contact:

Dr Marg Malloch
Director of Research Training
College of Education
Phone: +61 3 9919 4175
Email: [email protected]