KU research centers to explore technology of learning
Two research centers at the University of Kansas have teamed up to sponsor a new research and development laboratory, the e-Learning Design Lab.
A joint endeavor of the Center for Research on Learning and the Information and Telecommunications Technology Center, the lab's mission is to explore ways to improve teaching and learning using new technology.
"It is my hope that the e-Learning Design Lab will become one of the international leaders in the research of technology-enhanced learning environments," said Scott Hinton, one of the lab's co-directors and chair of KU's electrical engineering and computer science department. "I also hope that our contributions will help KU, local industry and government successfully move into the knowledge-based society that is rapidly approaching."
In recent years, one of the most explosive areas for growth is e-learning, the ability to engage in educational activities at any time or any place using technology such as the Internet, intranets, the World Wide Web, and interactive CDs. Responding to a need for leadership in this new and wide-open area, the lab will explore issues related to improving the quality of online education for all learners.
"I think it's important to point out that in e-learning, we're concerned with far more than just the technology that makes it possible. We're also concerned with the pedagogy of how you teach and how you learn in this environment," said Ed Meyen, the lab's other co-director and director of the Online Academy, a CRL project that develops Web-based educational modules that focus on preparing teachers to work effectively with students who have disabilities.
"The research on learning history of CRL makes us a very strong partner in this joint venture," Meyen said. "ITTC has a strong history in the area of telecommunications, information science, and development. When you bring the knowledge and expertise on learning and teaching together with the knowledge base and history on technology, it makes for a pretty good marriage."
Both co-directors see the new lab as a natural extension of the collaborative projects undertaken by CRL and ITTC in the last several years.
The lab, which will be located in the Dole Center for Human Development, initially will comprise faculty from the electrical engineering and computer science, special education, and teaching and leadership departments. In addition, it will provide research and development experience for KU students as well as opportunities for professionals whose research interests coincide with the lab's mission. It will encourage collaboration of university researchers, students, and representatives of industry, governmental agencies, the military and private foundations.
The lab will seek grants and contracts to finance its work. In addition, Meyen said he expects the lab's accomplishments to have potential in the private sector.
"We hope that we can create new tools and designs that will benefit all learners engaged in e-learning, whether we're talking about K-12, postsecondary or the business world," he said.
For more information, contact ITTC.