The SEER Research Network for Digital Learning Platforms
Co-Principal Investigators: Fusco, Judith; Pautz-Stephenson, Stefani; Newman, Denis
Related Network Teams: This project is part of the Digital Learning Platforms to Enable Efficient Education Research Network (Digital Learning Platforms Network), which aims to leverage existing, widely used digital learning platforms for rigorous education research, and includes the following other projects — The Canvas+Terracotta LMS-Based Experimental Education Research Platform (R305N210035), The ASU Learning at Scale (L@S) Digital Learning Network (R305N210041), MATHia: A Digital Learning Platform Supporting Core and Supplemental Instruction in Middle and High School Mathematics (R305N210045), Revisions to the ASSISTments Digital Learning Platform to Expand Its Support for Rigorous Education Research (R305N210049), Efficient Education Research via the OpenStax Learning Platform (R305N210064)
Purpose: The Network Lead will help platform developers, researchers, and educators share ideas, build knowledge, and strengthen dissemination. SEERNet will (a) maximize the distinctive advantages of organizing research around Digital Learning Platforms, (b) align to IES's goals by focusing activities around the Standards for Excellence in Educational Research ("SEER"), and (c) achieve deeper and broader national impacts by leveraging extensive, existing networks of education partners, researchers, and other educational stakeholders. Compared to typical field-generated education research grants, research conducted on a digital learning platform can be more agile, efficient, replicable, and cumulative and can better connect research to practice. The Network Lead will shape the work of the network to emphasize meaningful outcomes in the eyes of district leaders, educational policymakers, and other key stakeholders, in addition to being meaningful to the platform developers and to research teams. The Network Lead will organize the network to address all eight SEER Principles, thereby emphasizing generalizability and scaling across varied contexts and settings, enabling cost analysis, and also making findings, methods, and data open and widely available. They will organize platform developers and researchers to tackle challenges around ensuring availability of data needed to ask and answer research questions about equitable learning. Significance will be enhanced by intentionally leveraging Digital Promise's existing networks of school districts (such as the League of Innovative Schools) and their network of learning technology researchers (i.e., the Center for Integrative Research in Computing and Learning Sciences). Network Lead partner, Empirical Education, will likewise expand connections to important industry associations of educational technology companies. Further, to intentionally broaden participation of diverse scholars, the Network Lead will invite, include, and support emerging scholars who reflect the greater diversity sought in learning technology and educational research.
Network Leadership Activities: The Network Lead will undertake activities that strengthen the alignment, coherence, and productivity of network participants. First, the Lead will convene Network participants, enabling them to make plans for broad impact; coordinate, prioritize, and act on commitments; access additional expertise; and collectively coordinate with IES program officers. Second, the Lead will produce research summaries that all research projects can use to strengthen their work (e.g., in alignment with SEER principles). The Network Lead will clarify meaningful outcomes as they relate to digital learning platforms, summarize relevant methodological techniques, and communicate findings to broader audiences. Third, the Lead will organize educator and researcher recruitment activities to grow interest and involvement of researchers and educators in the network. Finally, the Lead will engage in ongoing communication activities that maximize national impact through a shared website, active social media engagement campaigns, and an intensive dissemination strategy.
Products: The Network Lead will create products to support stronger research by network members and enable them to reach broader audiences. These products will include a database of school districts with willingness to participate in research; an accessible, informative website; a series of summary reports on key research issues; and accessible forms of communication that widely disseminate findings of the network to educators and the public.