“This is a timely, important opportunity to connect high-quality research with the rapidly growing market for digital learning, an area of intense need and investment in Silicon Valley and throughout the country.

The Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL), led by Digital Promise in partnership with SRI International, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and NORC at the University of Chicago, works to support, synergize, and amplify the efforts of projects in the emerging field of cyberlearning, a field that seeks to integrate emerging technology capabilities and learning sciences insights to address the pressing needs to increase learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. CIRCL is funded by the NSF Cyberlearning Program and by other programs across NSF that fund cyberlearning-themed projects. The Principle Investigators of CIRCL include Jeremy Roschelle (lead), Patricia Schank, Cynthia D’Angelo (SRI) and Sarita Nair-Pillai (EDC).

CIRCL brokers collaborations and partnerships to accelerate and intensify progress in the field. Through thematic meetings, working groups, and virtual events, CIRCL organizes leaders from research and innovation projects to identify synergies among approaches and to synthesize findings. CIRCL also provides constructive feedback to NSF on promising new directions for future research/investment.

Mission and Theory of Action

The mission of CIRCL is to:

  • promote collaboration among NSF grantees who are doing work in the area of cyberlearning,
  • expand dissemination of program findings, technologies, models, materials, and best practices,
  • provide expertise in assessment, evaluation, and other areas of technical assistance to cyberlearning projects,
  • help bridge the gap between research and practice,
  • create a national presence for cyberlearning,
  • work to coordinate disparate cyberlearning research and development communities in a way that builds capacity, and
  • develop the infrastructure (technological and social) to support these efforts.

Our theory of action for CIRCL emphasizes intentionally designing mechanisms for collaboration, strengthening multidisciplinary communities of practice, and building inclusive strategic relationships. An inner CIRCL focuses on enhancing the effectiveness of the NSF-funded investigators and project teams we most directly serve. An expanding CIRCL links this immediate group to like-minded investigators and funders elsewhere through a network of relationships facilitated by CIRCL leaders. A CIRCL of influence reaches a broad audience with cyberlearning findings, models, and ideas.


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CIRCL is supported by NSF grants IIS-1233722 and IIS-1441631. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.