Virtual School Meanderings

June 15, 2016

IES Funds Center to Improve Virtual Learning

From Monday’s inbox…  Hopefully this federally funded initiative will result in better and more useful research than the last major federal-funded center that was created.

Institute of Education Sciences - Newsflash

IES Funds Center to Improve Virtual Learning

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded an $8.9 million grant to the University of Florida for a new Research and Development (R & D) Center that will focus on personalizing and improving virtual learning. The Center will be at the forefront of an emerging field known as “precision education,” which uses prior students’ data to support the learning opportunities for future students.

Over five years, the R & D Center—called Precision Education: The Virtual Learning Lab—will address the challenge of improving Algebra outcomes for low-achieving students , usingAlgebra Nation, a free online learning platform for students and teachers designed to promote mastery of basic algebra. To achieve this goal, the research team will personalize Algebra Nation for students by analyzing data from prior users; develop indicators of engagement during learning; and design professional development to help teachers use learning analytics to differentiate instruction.

The Virtual Learning Lab will test the promise of the precision education approach by studying whether the personalized version Algebra Nation improves students’ performance on their end-of-course algebra exam.

The Virtual Learning Lab will serve as a national hub for sharing findings and producing guidelines regarding the design of personalization of virtual learning systems through the use of learning analytics and accompanying professional development for teachers. Outreach activities will include summer workshops, an annual analytics competition, and collaborative sessions at conferences. The lab will also collaborate on supplemental studies with researchers who are conducting projects involving shared data and the use of learning analytics.

IES funds Research and Development Centers to advance practical solutions to important education challenges in the United States. The centers develop, test, and disseminate new approaches that improve teaching and learning in a critical area. In addition, Centers provide national leadership and outreach within their topic areas.

Read Press Release on Virtual Learning Lab

Learn more about IES Research and Development Centers

…CONNECTING RESEARCH, POLICY AND PRACTICE
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