Research & Innovation

Research and InnovationOur research service

In order to improve their practice, teachers need reliable and valid information about how to best help student to learn particular kinds of knowledge and skills. Internationally this kind of applied research has come to play an important role in innovation in higher education teaching and is referred to as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), or Action Research.

Since such research is intended to be practical – providing realistic solutions to real-life challenges for teachers and learners – it is intrinsically linked with the content being taught. Here in EPFL that implies a focus on researching the teaching and learning of science and engineering, known as STEM education research.

In order to ensure the quality of this research work and to allow for knowledge and innovations to be disseminated, research findings are presented and published in national and international forums.

The research service of the Teaching Support Centre is available to teachers and sections who would like to:

  • understand aspects of teaching and learning, in order to better plan changes to courses or programmes
  • evaluate planned innovations.

We can work with teachers and sections on all aspects of the research/evaluation process:

  • the design of a research or evaluation project
  • identification and translation of psychometric tests or development of new instruments
  • data collection and entry
  • data analysis/ interpretation and clarifying the implications for teaching and learning. 

Please contact Roland Tormey, or the pedagogical advisor for the relevant section.

Supporting innovation

The Teaching Support Centre also supports innovations in the school either through managing innovation projects or through working with and supporting other units in delivering innovations. Examples of recent innovation projects include:

  • the development of resources for students learning to work in groups as a support for the ‘Global Issues’ course;
  • the review of the system for evaluation and promotion of teaching in EPFL;
  • the introduction of the Tutorat system in first year physics and math courses, which was an innovation led by CRAFT (the Centre de Recherche et d’Appui pour la Formation et ses Technologies), the precursor of the Teaching Support Centre.