Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education

Our People are

our greatest asset


Karen is a researcher in the Early Childhood Futures research concentration in the Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University. Dr McLean commenced her career in primary and early years’ education in regional Victoria. She has been working in early childhood education in tertiary education for over 10 years. Karen’s research uses sociocultural perspectives to understand learning for contemporary times. Her current research is directed towards Australian playgroup provision and includes anAustralian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award for $369,996 (2018-2020) to examine caregiver learning about play in community playgroups and social media. Karen’s research interests encompass children and adults’ learning with a focus on literacy, technology and play-based learning.

Research interests

  • Learning for contemporary times
  • Australian playgroup provision
  • Digital technologies
  • Young children’s play-based learning
  • Early years literacy pedagogies

Competitive grants and projects

2018-2020 Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award for $369,996
2017-2020 Australian Research Council Linkage Project: Edwards, S., McLean, K., Evangelou, M., Henderson, M., Nolan, A., Skouteris, H., & Healy, C. Research Partner: Playgroup Victoria. A best practice framework for playgroups-in-schools.
2015-2016 Playgroup Victoria. K. McLean, S. Edwards, “Promoting the provision of parental provided play-activities in transition playgroups” $15,000
2015-2016 Playgroup Victoria. K. McLean, S. Edwards, “Community playgroups – Connecting rural families locally” $15,000
2013-2014 Catholic Education Office Ballarat (CS& CSP). K. McLean, S. Edwards
“Supported playgroups in schools: stakeholder perspectives on belonging, home learning and young children’s play” $70,000
2012 Catholic Education Office Ballarat. K. McLean, S. Edwards $15,000

Research consultancy projects on social media

2011 Developing Ancillary Education Positions for Pre-service Teacher Education Students: Needs Analysis $15000 Department Of Education and Early Childhood, Victoria Chief

ajax loader

Loading ORCID Record...

Sorry, We cannot load the ORCID record. Please refresh or try again later. ×