Education & Technology Trends
Digital Promise Research Project to Focus on Digital Learning at Scale
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Promise has launched a new network that's intended to
inspire research on digital learning at scale in both K-12 and higher
is a five-year program with a model that differs from the traditional
approach of research. Rather than beginning with small collections of
data from local groups of students, SEERNet will begin with data
generated on learning platforms already in use by 100,000 or more
project is being funded by the U.S.
Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences,
under its competitive grant program, "Research
Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Policy and Practice."
particular network will be led by Jeremy Roschelle, executive
director of learning sciences research at Digital Promise.
network will include five platform teams, each led by its own
State University team will develop a digital learning network
platform with the capacity to connect, access and examine
undergraduate student data and courses within the scope of ASU
Online, encompassing both online courses and digital
team will produce Terracotta, a plug-in to Canvas that lets a
teacher or researcher collect informed consent, assign different
versions of online learning activities to students and export
deidentified study data.
Learning Platform team will build OpenStax Labs, a rapid iteration
and testing learning environment integrated with the OpenStax open
educational resources digital platform, allowing for faster research
at scale, focusing on insights for improving outcomes that lead to
equitable student success.
A team for
a digital learning platform for supporting instruction in middle and
high school math, will integrate MATHia with UpGrade,
an open-source platform that supports fair and rigorous randomized
field trials that compare innovative practices with current
A team for the
digital learning platform will expand its infrastructure to allow
researchers to run studies using OER within ASSISTments.
will receive $3 million; and each of the organizations that make up
the network will receive $2 million.
on learning during the pandemic is making it crystal clear that
today's large-scale digital learning is not equitable. For example,
Black students, Latino students and low-income students faced greater
barriers to mathematics learning before the pandemic, and this only
intensified during the pandemic," said Roschelle, in a
statement. "To achieve equitable digital learning, we need to
not only bring evidence-based learning technologies to scale — we
also need to shift researchers' attention away from designing novel
but small-scale technologies, to investigating how we can improve
learning on the large-scale digital platforms that students already
hope that this work will increase the relevance of the research
questions asked, enhance the potential for improving education
practice, and most importantly, lead to the improvement of learner
outcomes," added Mark Schneider, director of the Institute of
Promise will also work with Empirical
Education, a research and development company that
will bring its education-focused research, data analysis, engineering
and project management expertise to the project.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.