Complexity in educational innovation

Educational innovations are often called complex and this is seen as a cause of failure of educational innovations. There is a lack of empirical evidence in the educational literature on complexity in educational innovations. In this project, we investigate what makes educational innovations complex and develop a framework to interpret complexity.


The goal of this project is to understand what makes educational innovations complex. For example, is the complexity in the: content, social, contextual or psychological aspect? A better understanding of the complexity leads to ideas how the complexity can be handled or reduced


  • Understanding factors that determine complexity
  • New framework for interpreting complexity in practice
  • Insight into what interventions stakeholders use to manage complexity


01 May 2022 - 01 July 2024


In an exploratory study, three comprehensive educational innovations are examined as cases in the: Secondary Education, Secondary Vocational Education and Higher Vocational Education. For each case, a focus group session is held. The focus group session focuses on some difficult moments (retrospectively) in the educational innovation. Data is analysed on a thinking framework for complexity.

HU researchers involved in the research

  • Harry Rorije
    Harry Rorije
    • Researcher
    • Research group: Driving Educational Change
  • Remco Coppoolse | Researcher | Research group Normative Professionalization
    Remco Coppoolse
    • Researcher
    • Research groups: Normative Professionalisation, Driving Educational Change

Collaboration with knowledge partners