Framework Development

Kristen St. John, Project PI, James Madison University


Fourteen years ago the Wingspread Report (Manduca, Mogk, & Stillings, 2003) helped establish geoscience education research (GER) as an important research field and highlighted major research questions for GER at the time. More recently, the growth and interest in GER is evident from the increase in geoscience education research articles in a peer-reviewed journals, the establishment of the NAGT GER Division, the creation of the GER Toolbox, an increase in GER graduate programs, and the growth of tenure-eligible GER faculty positions. As an emerging DBER field (NRC, 2012), the GER community is examining the current state of their research and considering the best course forward so that it can have the greatest collective impact on advancing undergraduate teaching and learning in the geosciences.

Building on a prior NSF-funded workshop, this NSF-funded GER Framework project engaged ~200 geoscience educators and researchers through a sequenced series of virtual and face-to-face events to share ideas, gain feedback, and create and revise priority research questions, or "Grand Challenges", that span 10 geoscience education research themes (Table 1). For each theme, several Grand Challenges and recommended strategies have been proposed by the community.

Goal and Objectives

The project goal is to improve teaching and learning about the Earth, by focusing the power of Geoscience Education Research (GER) on a set of ambitious, high-priority, community-endorsed grand challenges.

To achieve this goal, we sought to:
  • Engage the community, where "community" involves discipline-based education researchers, scholars on geoscience teaching and learning, geoscience educators from a range of institution types and career levels, and cognition scientists.
  • Focus on challenges that can be achieved within 10 years.
  • Focus on strategies that impact undergraduate teaching and learning.
  • Produce, and widely disseminate, a report on the Community Framework for GER.


It is our vision that the final outcome of this community-grounded process is a published guiding framework to:

  • focus future GER on questions of high interest to the geoscience education researcher and practitioner community,
  • provide funding agencies with a strong rationale for including GER in future funding priorities,
  • increase the strength of evidence of GER community claims, and
  • elevate the visibility, stature, and collaborative potential of GER in the geosciences and in STEM education research.

Process Used to Develop the GER Framework »

Framework Scope and Audience »

Authorship and Acknowledgements »

Citation for this chapter: St. John, Kristen (2018). "Framework Development". In St. John, K (Ed.) (2018). Community Framework for Geoscience Education Research. National Association of Geoscience Teachers.