Teaching and Research Interests

Teaching Interests
I have taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses related to instructional technology and design, technology integration in the K-12 classrooms, educational psychology, basic research methods, and qualitative research. The courses I have taught have different course objectives, but my goal as a teacher in all has been for the students to understand course content and identify how they can become mature professionals while they improve their research, teaching, and instructional design skills. In the classroom I encourage students to experience their own construction of understanding about research, theory, and practice. I want my students to examine their personal beliefs and theories related to how people learn and sociopolitical issues related to opportunities for facilitating learning to become aware of how both theory and practice can influence their future work. I encourage students to become involved in dialogue with peers, colleagues, and mentors regarding their experiences, beliefs, and existing theories. I want to help my students become reflective researchers and practitioners through experiential learning. Through the activities I facilitate, I want students to pose questions that engage them in project-based reflective problem solving. I do not want to promote the impression that there is one correct answer to questions that students ask, but I want them to be able to find their own solutions warranted by theory and practice.

Research Interests

I identify myself as a Cultural Historical Activity Theorist (CHAT) within the fields of educational psychology and instructional technology. I began a path to my scholarly work as an undergraduate psychology student in Japan. At the time I was passionate about understanding how people learn in complex learning environments from a cognitive theoretical perspective and was interested in the practical implications of theory as they relate to human learning environments. Upon completing my bachelor’s degree, I decided to move to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree in Instructional System Technology to learn about designing human learning environments. I continued my doctoral education in Educational Psychology with a double major in Instructional Systems Technology to further engage in theoretical and empirical investigations about human learning environments. I was introduced to CHAT in my doctoral education. My scholarly work since has been focused on theoretical and research methodologies in CHAT relevant to both educational psychology and instructional technology.

Through my scholarly work, I am interested in investigating how human learning is a complex process within shared activities where individuals contribute to transforming themselves, the community, artifacts, and the environment. My specific research topics of interest include: (a) understanding the sociocultural nature of educational learning environments and their influence on human activity, (b) understanding university program design and development processes and how the sociopolitical setting and program initiatives coevolve; and (c) developing innovative data collection, analysis, and presentation methodologies in qualitative CHAT research. In many instances I have worked with activity systems analysis in the above three areas of research. I will discuss what I have accomplished thus far in my career in each area.


Last Updated August 21, 2016

Contact me at LisaYL@utk.edu for work related messages and LisaYamagataLynch@gmail.com for personal messages.