Stuart Duvall

Building ICT capacity by design: A community of practice approach for teacher professional development 


This thesis is the report of a two-year study that examined how participation in a community of practice could support teachers’ collective efficacy beliefs about their information and communication technology (ICT) capabilities. 

To explore the relationship between community of practice participation, collective efficacy beliefs and ICT capabilities, an intervention was carried out at an independent co-educational secondary school located in suburban Western Australia. The design-based research approach guided this research and provided a methodology that could bridge the chasm between developing theory and practice. A case study methodology was used to collect and analyse data on the factors supporting the co-construction of collective efficacy beliefs. 

The initial phase of the investigation involved the researcher collaboratively working with teachers to identify and explore personal experiences using digital technology and a review of the literature. Informed by the initial phase, the second phase resulted in the development of draft design principles, grounded in theory, to guide the ensuing intervention. In the third phase, an intervention was introduced in the form of a community of practice to enhance teachers’ ICT capabilities. During this third phase, the original design principles were enhanced through two iterative cycles of testing and refinement. Again, the testing and refinement of the design principles involved consultation with the teachers participating in the intervention. The fourth phase presents a final set of refined design principles, which can be used by schools seeking to support teachers’ collective efficacy beliefs through professional development and learning. 

This study found that direction-setting leadership practices were the most significant factor in supporting collective efficacy or collective inefficacy. Despite direction-setting leadership practices that supported a collective inefficacy, the community of practice participants were able to maintain their teacher self-efficacy beliefs in the medium term. 


Herrington, J., Parker, J. & Duvall, S. (2012). Design-based research: Research that makes a difference in education. Presentation for the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research 2012, 19 September 2012, Murdoch University.