Over the past five years, I’ve led the Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF uses the term “cyberlearning” for its portfolio of research projects that investigate emerging technology and emerging learning sciences. The projects seek bold new designs for learning, contrasting with today’s typical laptop- or tablet-based apps. For example, cyberlearning designs for learning may incorporate speech or gesture recognition, leverage mobile devices and mapping tools, or transform a familiar space into a virtual field site for a collaborative scientific investigation.

NSF has made more than 250 cyberlearning research grant awards over the past five years. A big challenge for the CIRCL team has been to answer questions like: What are cyberlearning investigators exploring? What are we learning from the research? What new questions about learning can we answer?

To address these questions, CIRCL gathered 22 authors, representing a range of different projects. We worked together intensively for over a year to write a “community report” in which the authors would help us to report on the designs, ideas and progress in the cyberlearning community. It wasn’t an easy process, but we eventually found a series of key commonalities with this large portfolio of exploratory research. By building on those commonalities, we could explain why cyberlearning research matters.

The result, called the “Cyberlearning Community Report: The State of Cyberlearning and the Future of Learning with Technology,” was released on October 2, 2017 and is free to download here.

Here are five reasons why I’d recommend downloading and reading it:

  1. The report explains what cyberlearning is and sets it in the context of a history of learning scientists and computer scientists working together.
  2. It describes six “commitments” in this research community that drive the work forward and make it distinctive.
  3. It illustrates a set of promising new design genres, such as “virtual peers and coaches” and “digital performance spaces.” These designs shed light on how the next two decades of learning with technology may be very different from the last two decades.
  4. The researchers highlight advances in scientific methods that can drive this work forward, such as the ability to combine multiple, rich data streams to study how people learn and also advances in how we can involve learners and teachers in the design of learning.
  5. The report looks to the future, suggesting strategic “big ideas” that can serve as guideposts for a future of learning technology innovations that go far beyond what we have today.

The community report is available at: http://circlcenter.org/resources/community-report/


About Jeremy Roschelle

Dr. Jeremy Roschelle is the Executive Director of Learning Sciences Research at Digital Promise Global. You can follow him on Twitter at @roschelle63.

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