Step Forward is the CDN Research and Enhancement Centre’s action research programme. Its purpose is to enhance practice across our colleges and develop the action research skills of college staff.

Enhancing learning together is our guiding principle.

Working together, as a sector, as a system, is at the heart of the programme and we will be supporting projects that bring together teams, colleges and partners right across Scotland and beyond.

Step Forward will develop key themes from CDN’s research to transform ideas into actions that will allow college staff to develop their practice and enhance the impact of their courses and services.

Claire Collins Consultancy Ltd are one of the partners supporting Step Forward, find out more about the team and why they love action research here.

Read our programme overview here

Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of College Development Network (CDN), said:

We are delighted to launch this vital element of CDN’s research and enhancement work. Step Forward will enable us to develop the action research skills of college staff and showcase the impact of their work on learners and communities across Scotland. It’s a long-term programme that will grow as the work of our colleges continues to develop, guided by our vision of enhancing learning together.

What is Action Research?

Action research involves practitioners investigating their own practice (that’s the ‘research’) and then using what they find out to make improvements (that’s the ‘action’). Engaging in action research will help participants to improve their practice, and sharing what they discover will help their colleagues develop approaches they can use to help their learners too.

At the core of Step Forward is the desire to develop rigorous, transferable action research approaches that inspire practitioners in the sector as well as delivering exemplar projects that will support the practical application of CDN research and provide new opportunities for learners.


The benefits of Step Forward for participants


Co-creation of sector-leading services/high impact learning approaches and materials with colleagues from across colleges and beyond.


Working together to find innovative ways to solve some of the key challenges that our learners face.


Making a sustainable difference to your area of work not just in your own college but across the whole sector.


Support and training to develop your research skills and take an action research approach to your professional practice.


Becoming part of Scotland’s network of emerging college researchers.

  • Contact Us

    To find out more about Step Forward contact our team on

    Contact us here
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Discover everything you need to know about Step Forward with in our handy FAQ's.

    Read FAQ's here
  • CDN's Research and Enhancement Centre

    The Centre brings together existing research work related to Scotland’s colleges and is driving new research and enquiry in the sector

    View the Centre here