Learning Studios Research – Digital Promise

Learning Studios Research

As part of HP and Microsoft’s Reinvent the Classroom initiative, Digital Promise Global is directing a global network of Learning Studios for design-centered, experiential learning.

The common characteristic of all Learning Studio sites is the provision of an advanced technology package for designing and making, access for teachers to an online professional learning community, and a set of project guides and design challenges which teachers may implement at their discretion.

In the initial pilot year of the program between May 2016 and May 2017, we embarked on a research study in collaboration with Designs for Learning to understand how teachers and students made use of the advanced technologies provided by the project, and to document the areas of growth experienced by students and teachers—from technology skills to design-based thinking and related competencies. We also sought to understand the effects of implementation context on technology use and learning and to capture insights related to challenges and best practices that could inform the broader field.

The Learning Studios Research White Paper illuminating key findings about this unique global network focused on learning design thinking and invention skills, and connecting across continents to design solutions to global challenges.

For school leaders exploring the possibility of creating or growing maker learning initiatives, this report offers insights based on the experiences of Learning Studios at schools and youth organizations across a diverse range of cultures and contexts around the world. Below are just a few of these findings and discoveries:

Technology Use, Comfort and Related Skills

Learning Studios increased students’ and teachers’ access to advanced technologies for design-based and maker learning, and this access was associated with improvements in related skills as well as comfort with the technology.

Student Identity and Confidence as Designers and Makers

Many students who participated in the Learning Studios evidenced increases in their sense of self as a designer or maker, and in their confidence with design thinking and maker learning activities.

Engagement and Persistence

Analyses from the surveys, as well as conversations with teachers and students, provided evidence that engagement and persistence had been positively impacted through Learning Studio participation.

Agency and Ownership of Learning

Through surveys and interviews, we found support that Learning Studios participation was associated with positive indicators of agency and ownership of learning.

Empathy, Collaboration and Communication

Overall, we found support for Learning Studio contributions to students’ growth in their collaboration and communication abilities among a subset of students.

Implementation Context also proved to be a key factor in the first year success of each program. For those new to maker learning, observations suggest that starting on the smaller side, and ensuring that teachers have ample opportunity to grow their own confidence and comfort level, lead to the greatest student gains. Additionally, students in Learning Studios that leveraged more of the resources and projects provided by Digital Promise Global showed the highest gains in most areas.

See the Learning Studios Executive Summary for a complete overview of key findings based on the results from a series of survey, interviews and focus groups with participating educators and students. In-depth analyses and additional insights into program impacts and implications for future implementations can be found in the full Learning Studios Research Report.

The Learning Studios exploratory research was conducted by Designs for Learning in partnership with Digital Promise Global.

Download the Learning Studios Executive Summary

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