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The Learning Federation. Learning Science & Technology R&D To Catalyze a Revolution in Learning. Henry Kelly Federation of American Scientists Randy Hinrichs Microsoft Research Seattle, WA May 4, 2003. The Learning Federation.

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the learning federation

The Learning Federation

Learning Science & Technology R&D

To Catalyze a Revolution in Learning

Henry Kelly

Federation of American Scientists

Randy Hinrichs

Microsoft Research

Seattle, WA

May 4, 2003

the learning federation1
The Learning Federation
  • Goal: A sustained, well funded, creatively managed national research program in learning science and technology funded at a level commensurate with its importance to the nation’s future
  • Steering Committee: Industry, Universities, Government
  • Target Audience: Post-secondary, SMET (expandable to all ages and fields)
  • Key Themes: Pre-competitive applied research, spiral development strategies, tool building
learning federation leadership
Steering Committee

Ruzena Bajcsy, UC Berkeley

John Bransford, Vanderbilt U

Randy Hinrichs, Microsoft Research

Ed Lazowska, U Washington

Elliott Masie, Masie Center

Richard Newton, UC Berkeley

Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group

Raj Reddy, CMU

Shankar Sastry, UC Berkeley

Bill Spencer, Washington Advisory Group

Janos Sztipanovits, DARPA, Vanderbilt U

Andries van Dam, Brown U

Gene Broderson, CPB

Ann Wittbrodt, HP

Administrative Management

Henry Kelly, Federation of American Scientists

Marianne Bakia, FAS

Kay Howell, FAS

Tom Kalil, UC Berkeley

Learning Federation Leadership
technology can make learning
Technology can make learning:
  • More productive (quicker mastery, better retention, seamless transfer)
  • More compelling
  • More personal
  • More adaptable to local needs
  • More accessible
  • Continuous improvement (no data point left behind)
the final centimeter
The final centimeter

Terabytes of Data

Pointers to All of Human


Terabytes of


Digital Libraries



Photos, videos

3D objects




Billions of

Web pages

learning technology research
Learning Technology Research

Cognitive Science

Information Science

cognitive theory
Cognitive Theory


  • Acquiring expertise requires lots of practical experience
  • Experience and practice should continue only as long as it is challenging and reinforces expertise

Based on: How People Learn: NAS 2001

assessment theory
Assessment Theory


  • Focus on identifying the specific strategies used for problem-solving
  • Make students’ thinking visible both to their teachers and themselves and adjust instruction as appropriate
  • Provide timely and informative feedback

Based on: Knowing what Students Know : NAS 2001

why a research roadmap
Why a Research Roadmap?
  • Provide a clear definition of what’s possible
  • Support a management plan for executing the research
    • priorities for resource allocation
    • goals and metrics
    • manage spiral development
  • Build constituencies
systems engineering approach



Systems Engineering Approach

Simulation &

Interface tools

Student Records


Integration Tools

User Model








Pedagogy/Instructional Design Theory

research areas component roadmaps
Research Areas: Component Roadmaps
  • Instructional Design for New Technology-Enabled Approaches to Learning
  • Learner Modeling and Assessment for Technology-Enabled Learning Systems
  • Question Generation and Answering Systems
  • Building Simulations and Virtual Environments
  • Integration Tools for Building and Maintaining Advanced Learning Systems
1 instructional design using simulations and games in learning
1. Instructional Design: Using Simulations and Games in Learning

Understanding how people learn, how experts organize information, and the skills of effective learners

  • Developing multi-dimensional models of subject-matter mastery and expertise in different subject areas.
  • Understanding the influence of variables that may affect learning: motivation, prior experience, interest.
  • Building on emerging information about the biological basis of learning.
  • Understanding how best to use discovery-based learning, games, and other exploration-based learning?
  • What are the best roles for teachers, coaches, experts, and other humans supporting the learning process.
2 learner modeling and assessment
2. Learner Modeling and Assessment

What to measure, when to measure and how to use the information

  • Embedded, multi-dimensional assessments of content mastery
  • Measuring individual and group skills.
  • Measuring levels of learner interest and motivation
  • Defining useful measures of learning styles and measuring how they may be revealed by student performance.
  • Ensuring security and privacy of assessment information.
3 question generation and answering systems
3. Question Generation and Answering Systems

How to take advantage of the benefits offered by emerging technologies to facilitate inquiry

  • Responding to learner inquiries through automated responses and dispatch of questions to instructors and experts.
  • Stimulating learners to ask questions and helping learners formulate answerable questions.
  • Diagnosing sources of misunderstanding and proposing new directions (with and without instructor assistance).
  • Using question sessions to build profiles of learner’s interests, capabilities and learning styles.
  • Natural language dialogues.
4 building simulations and virtual environments
4. Building Simulations and Virtual Environments

How to build complex virtual environments that accurately reflect current understanding of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics that permit exploration-based pedagogy

  • Semantic interoperability within and across disciplines.
  • Model scalability for use at many levels of resolution and complexity.
  • Certification & mgmt techniques for validating & updating simulations.
  • Techniques to navigate simulations and visualizations at different levels of granularity; feature-based navigation; and scene management.
  • Simulations of full range of instruments interoperable with synthetic environments.
  • User interfaces for virtual environments.
  • Noninvasive and accurate tracking to sense and react to the user and the user’s environment.
  • Encouraging communities of practice that may lead to standards
5 integration tools for building and maintaining advanced learning systems
5. Integration Tools for Building and Maintaining Advanced Learning Systems

Engineering strategies for using learning system tools to build learning systems

  • Course building tools for designing scenarios, creating assignments, designing response to information gathered from student observer tools, and programming avatar behaviors.
  • Tools to identify software resources relevant to the task, to combine these tools into a functioning system, and to adapt them to reflect specified objectives.
  • Tools to establish an open process for worldwide collaboration on building and maintaining learning environments.
roadmapping work plan
Roadmapping Work Plan
  • Develop and disseminate component roadmaps - OCT 2002 – AUG 2003
  • Integrated roadmap workshop - JUL 2003
  • Publish and disseminate integrated research roadmap - SEP 2003
  • Launch Public Campaign about Needs & Opportunities - SEP 2003
  • Constituent Outreach Continuing through DEC 2003
the challenges
The Challenges
  • Set priorities in interdisciplinary fields, many of which have no obvious home in traditional academic departments
  • Build connections between cognitive research and groups with the skills to implement these concepts
  • Balance basic research, applied research, development, and demonstration
  • Continuous testing and feedback (spiral development)
  • Bridge to commercialization/procurement
  • Appropriate model for research management
desired management features
Desired Management Features:
  • A roadmap identifying goals and priorities for achieving them that is regularly updated after consulting with experts in business, universities, and government
  • A strong team of program managers with a very small staff each assigned a major component of the roadmap
  • Flexibility in research management (e.g. “other transactions authority”) allowing fast response to new opportunities and an ability to draw on expertise wherever it may be found.
  • Freedom to establish significant research teams that can focus on a task for at least 3-5 years
  • The ability to establish a research center (analogous to the NIH campus) if, the Board is convinced that such a capability is needed
annual us investment in education and training
Annual US Investment in Education and Training
  • Total Spending: $900 billion
  • Technology: $5.5 billion
  • Basic and applied RD&D to understand how this technology can be used to improve learning: $200 million (most in DoD)
  • Basic research on learning science and technology: $50 million

Hewlett Packard

Hewlett Foundation

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

National Science Foundation


Digital Promise