IAALDE Public Engagement Project

This document describes the scope of our public engagement project, including the conceptualization of 3 panels that will be convened for the purpose of engaging administrators and policy people in an effort to translate research into practice.  We begin with a description of the conceptualization, and present a nomination form.  What we are asking you to do after reading this information is to nominate participants from your society using the nomination form at the link included below.

The International Alliance to Advance Learning in a Digital Era (IAALDE) has as its aim to advance scientific and practical understandings of how to teach, how learners learn, and how technological systems can more effectively support education. We live in an increasingly complex world in which the media casts advanced technologies alternately as a savior or as a foe.  In contrast, our aim is to promote a more functional orientation towards advanced technologies, using research on human learning to motivate positive roles technology might play in advancing learning, and pointing to recent research that enables those roles to be realized in learning contexts.  As part of this effort, we are seeking to engage administrators and policy people in discussion in order to match current needs with current advances, with the goal of hastening the path from research into human impact through practice.  To start the conversation, we are organizing a workshop in which panelists from across IAALDE’s 10 component societies/SIGs will highlight key research from three topic areas, receive feedback, questions, and challenges from administrators and policy people, and engage in visioning for forward steps.  The discussion at the workshop is meant to lay the foundation for translational writing that will occur in the months following the workshop, with the goal of producing a series of resources for dissemination to administrators and policy people going forward (through partnership with Digital Promise).

Panel 1: Learning as a Cognitive Process

In the first panel, experts will discuss foundations for designing for learning as a cognitive process, which can be supported by scaffolding individual and social learning activities, by stimulating metacognition (“learning how to learn”), as well as by designing learning activities to be emotionally engaging. Though learning takes place through cognition, it is supported through engagement with cognitive, metacognitive, social and emotional dimensions of experience.  This panel will focus on recent findings illuminating how to balance the short and long term learning needs of students, what are the unique support needs of each student, how to keep learners motivated and emotionally engaged, and how to challenge learners to reason actively and consider alternative perspectives. 

Panel 2: Situated Learning across Contexts

In the second panel, experts will highlight the ways in which learning is situated and needs change depending upon characteristics of the context. Challenging the desire for broad strokes solutions, this panel will emphasize how learning is different depending upon age group, school and community culture, and level of resources.  Decontextualization and targeted practice are important but must be balanced with the need to understand and experience authentic application.  This panel will explore how these alternative approaches can be balanced and synergized.

Panel 3: Equitable access to Knowledge, Education, and Learning environments

The third panel will address the important issue that the learners in most need of consideration in terms of educational approach are often underrepresented in mainstream research.  Recent research specifically targets this issue and can be used as a stepping stone towards transformation both of research and of practice towards a more functional, balanced consideration, drawing from both of the earlier two panels.  The panel will explore issues such as the ways technologies might ensure the reach of teaching – considering issues such as global teaching, learning at scale, the ways technologies might ensure the viability of teaching niche topics.  We will consider issues such as the percentage and number of target learners worldwide, the availability of data analytics to ensure appropriate consideration of who benefits from how learning is structured, and to measure effects of interventions, and the ways personalization might increase equity once special needs are considered in designs.

Please use the nomination form below to nominate representatives from your society to participate in one of the three panels. 


Panelists will participate in a workshop taking place online this coming Spring in which they will present for 5 minutes about cutting edge research from their society (including but not limited to your own) and engage in discussion with the audience, which will consist of administrators and policy people.  After the workshop, building on insights that emerge through the exchange between researchers, administrators, and policy people, the panelists will collaborate on a research translation document (on per panel), with the goal of publishing it through Digital Promise.

The process will begin with selection of key individuals from across IAALDE’s 10 societies/SIGs and involving them in an online training workshop on public engagement with science run by the AAAS on March 22, 2021 from 9am EST – 12pm EST.  Scheduling of the panels and writing timeline is still tentative.  For now we are asking for a commitment to participate in the training workshop and work with us to finetune the tentative timeline below:

Panel Workshop: April 23, 2021, 8:30am EST – 3:30pm EST
Research Translation Document Outline submitted to IAALDE board for feedback: July 1, 2021
Feedback returned to authors: July 15, 2021
Draft Research Translation Document submitted to IAALDE board for feedback: September 1, 2021
Feedback returned to authors: October 1, 2021
Final document due: December 21, 2021

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