Cyberlearning Community Report

(To be released in fall 2017)

The cyberlearning community in the United States brings computer scientists and learning scientists together to design and study innovative learning technologies. In fall 2017, CIRCL will release a report on six design themes emerging across multiple US-based, NSF-funded cyberlearning projects, based on the analysis of a team of researchers (see Report Authors, below) who worked together in 2016 and 2017 to create a more extensive “Cyberlearning Community Report”.

The report highlights examples of the exciting work our community is engaged in as we integrate the latest innovations in learning science and computer science into new research designs and methods. This work is also driving the need for new learning sciences in areas such as embodied cognition, identity, and affect, and requires advances in methods, such as multimodal analytics, and in computer science, such as in context-sensitive computing.

Report authors: June Ahn, Jodi Asbell-Clarke, Matthew Berland, Catherine Chase, Noel Enyedy, Judith Fusco, Shari Gardner, Erica Halverson, Kemi Jona, Chad Lane, Emma Mercier, Tom Moher, Amy Ogan, Wendy Martin, Nichole Pinkard, Joseph Polman, Jeremy Roschelle, Patricia Schank, Katie Headrick Taylor, Michelle Wilkerson, and Marcelo Worsley.

Key report sections and authors are summarized below.

Note that the report is in final editing, so content may change.

Illustrative Cyberlearning Designs

For each of the following six “genres” of design, the report provides a design description, examples of the genre, and a discussion of contributions, opportunities, and challenges.

1. Community Mapping: Moving and Discovering across Contexts
by Katie Headrick Taylor and Nichole Pinkard

2. Expressive Construction: Enabling Learners to Represent Powerful Ideas
by Matthew Berland, Erica Halverson, Joseph Polman, & Michelle Wilkerson

3. Classrooms as Digital Performance Spaces: Collaborative Investigations of Simulated Scientific Phenomena
by Tom Moher and Noel Enyedy

4. Virtual Peers and Coaches: Social and Cognitive Support for Learning
by Judith Fusco, Wendy Martin, H. Chad Lane, and Catherine Chase

5. Remote Scientific Labs: Authenticity at Distance
by Jeremy Roschelle, Kemi Jona, Patricia Schank, and Wendy Martin

6. Enhancing Collaboration and Learning through Touch Screen Interfaces
by Chad Lane and Emma Mercier

Illustrative Cyberlearning Methods

1. Multimodal Analysis
by Marcelo Worsley

2. Learning Analytics for Assessment
by Jodi Asbell-Clarke and Judith Fusco

3. User- and Community-Centered Design Methods
by Amy Ogan

The Cyberlearning Community: A Broader Look

by Shari Gardner

The portfolio has gone far beyond what was anticipated in 2008 when the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning released the report, Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge, which set the stage for cyberlearning.

Key Commitments

A core set of goals, purposes, and practices that the community is committed to.

  1. Orientation to the horizon, imagining how new forms of technology become more prominent than today’s most common tablets and laptops;
  2. Focus on equity, including people and perspectives in early stage design research to design for a future society that more fully enables a diverse range of learners to have valuable learning opportunities;
  3. Learning as community centered and cross-context, going beyond a focus on individuals or small groups in a single physical setting;
  4. Research through design, seeking advances through empirical studies that explore how people learn with tools and content that have been newly designed to investigate the learning potential of new affordances;
  5. Youth as producers, expanding beyond commonplace ways in which institutions categorize youth in familiar roles such as “students” (in school) or “visitors” to museum, to explore how youth can be expressively and constructively engaged across settings;
  6. Convergent science, forming teams that bring together different disciplines (most often learning sciences and computer science) and dedicating time and effort to develop a coherent, integrated research approach.

Towards Strategic Impact: Cyberlearning and Big Ideas

Six directions for evolution towards broader impact.

  1. New Interactions for Learning: Exploring Human-Computing Frontiers
  2. New Analytics for Learning: Harnessing Big Data
  3. New Strategies for Improvement of Inclusive Learning
  4. New Teamwork in Learning Research: Convergent Science
  5. New Foci for Learning: Computational, Engineering, and Data Science Thinking
  6. New Spaces for Learning: Smart and Connected Communities


We thank the authors of this report for their contributions. This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-1233722. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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