Improving the Impact of Digital Learning - Digital Promise

Improving the Impact of Digital Learning

Relatively few learning technologies achieve widespread and impactful use. We draw on learning sciences insights, theories, and findings as a starting point, but we realize additional layers of design and refinement are always needed to make positive and meaningful change.

To have a transformative impact on learning, we help researchers, practitioners, and industry partners build relationships, think collectively, and scale innovative designs that leverage findings from learning sciences research. We also synthesize and communicate insights and findings from learning sciences work, and identify strategic “big ideas” that can serve as guideposts for a future of learning technology innovations that go far beyond what we have today to foster lifelong, lifewide learning.


  • Center for Integrative Research in Computing and Learning Sciences (CIRCLS) – CIRCLS supports research on emerging technologies for learning, especially emphasizing research that integrates computer science and learning sciences perspectives. We are funded by the National Science Foundation to support NSF-awarded projects in the RETTL program, in former “cyberlearning” programs, and in other related programs — and we aim to share open access resources to help everyone exploring the frontiers of learning technology. Digital Promise leads CIRCLS, in collaboration with SRI International, EDC, and University of Pittsburgh.
  • ConnectED – We are supporting SRI’s research and evaluation of Apple’s ConnectED program and creating a resource describing teachers’ learning journeys in their transition to teaching in 1-1 environments.
  • In Preparation for Future Learning – We are designing assessments for the important topic of Fractions, for use within Cignition’s platform, which includes a game and live tutoring. The assessments measure transfer to future learning topics. Funders include the Gates Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and CZI.
  • Innovation Spotlights – The Innovation Spotlights project is a curated set of videos of ten schools across the U.S. that are using research-based practices and technology to support students’ STEM learning. The video spotlights provide tangible examples of how schools can use digital technology for creating meaningful STEM learning experiences across a range of contexts and grade levels.
  • OpenSciEd Research Agenda -we are organizing a wide range of stakeholders — including STEM education designers, researchers, teachers and administrators, and program officers — to collaboratively develop and launch an OpenSciEd Research Agenda that attends to issues of equity in science education.
  • Playful Formative Assessments for Computer Science in NYC – We are advising on the development of a game to gather information about what students know about the “data” strand of the middle school computational thinking standards. The game is based in the Music Industry and has won awards for its support of learning through a game. Partners include Teachers College, University of Wisconsin, SRI International and GeorgiaTech
  • The World History Project – The World History Project is a free, online course that uses diverse narratives to engage high school students in problem solving and historical thinking practices. Our team is conducting a comprehensive impact study of the course.


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