Digital learning (also Cyberlearning) refers to “learning that is mediated by networked computing and communications technologies”. Digital learning challenges our notion of a school as a physical location where students and teachers meet face-to-face: higher education can be more flexible, more accessible, and more affordable, especially when facilitated through technology. Digital learning research bridges the fields of education, psychology, and technology. The driving question behind our current research is how to design, develop and integrate innovative technology capable of promoting students’ motivation and engagement in digital learning to achieve a positive impact on student success. In The Research Labortorary for Digital Learning, we focus on the following areas of investigation:

We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary research projects examining the intersection of the above areas, as well as the intersection between these areas and subject disciplines such as math, science, and literacy.

K-12 Technology Integration and Teacher Professional Development

We support schools and districts to integrate learning technologies in classrooms and study practical issues in K-12 technology integration. We design and deliver innovative technology professional development to improve teacher quality and cultivate school capacity for technology integration. We also examine students’ and teachers’ competencies in technology-supported learning environments.

Funded Projects

Algebra Ready: Teaching Mathematics with Digital ContentTeacher Quality Improvement Program, Ohio Department of Higher Education ($147,400). Award period: 02/2017—05/2018.

College Ready Ohio, Straight A Fund, Ohio Department of Education. ($13,523,301) Award period: 07/01/2014–06/30/2020.

EDCITE: Evaluating Digital Content for Instructional and Teaching Excellence, Straight A Fund, Ohio Department of Education. ($8,386,024) Award period: 07/01/2014–06/30/2020.

Connecting Climate Science and Inquiry in K-6 Classrooms, Board of Regents, Ohio Department of Education ($102,958). Award period: 07/01/2013–06/30/2014.

Motivation and Engagement in Digital Learning

We examine students’ motivation and social engagement in digital learning. Specifically, how students’ motivation influences their learning engagement, what factors influence students’ academic motivation, how students socially engage with each other, and how motivation and social engagement interact with each other in influencing students’ learning in digital contexts. Key variables in our studies include: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, goal orientations, epistemological beliefs, peer interactions, self-regulation and co-regulation, leadership, identity, social presence and conflictual presence.

Funded Projects

The Influence of Contextual Features on Learning Engagement in Out-of-Classroom Settings for Academically At-Risk College Students. Spencer Foundation ($49,969). PI: Xie, K., co-PI: Vongkulluksn, V., & Wolters, C., Award period: 06/2019—05/2020.

Integrating Web2.0 collaboration tools to promote students’ motivation in “Learning and Motivation Strategies for Success in College”, Impact Grant of Learning Technologies, The Ohio State University. ($43,350 with $31,000 from Learning Technology). Award period: 07/01/2013–06/30/2014.

Investigating Students’ Motivation, Study Strategies, and Team Leadership in Small-Group Online Collaborative Learning, Research Seed Grant, The Ohio State University. ($2,000). Award period: 01/01/2013–12/31/2013.

Technology Intervention and Learning Environment

We examine contexts and environments in which learning occurs and design technological interventions to support students’ learning in such contexts. Learning environments in our studies include asynchronous online collaborative learning, flipped classrooms, workspaces, adult online learning, web-based learning, as well as classroom learning in special education and preschool settings.

Funded Projects

Scaffolding Students’ Information Literacy Development in Science Classrooms. Spencer Foundation, (Funded for $50,000). Award period: 09/2018—08/2019.

Read It Again – Mobile, Technology-Supported Language & Literacy Intervention for Preschoolers At-Risk (RIA-Mobile), Institution for Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. (Funded for $1,499,972). Award period: 09/01/2015–08/30/2018.

Reducing Special Education Reading Risk through an Oral Reading Fluency for Urban learners, Institute for Educational Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. ($1,394,851) Award period: 07/01/2012–06/30/2015, Involving period: 07/01/2013–01/2015.

Learning Analytics and Research Methods

We take affordances of data analytics generated in digital learning platforms, address the assessment aspect of learning, and develop new methods for educational research in digital learning. We also compare digital assessment methods with traditional research instrumentation. Specific methods in our studies include data mining, social network analysis, natural language processing, and experiential sampling method.

Funded Projects

Using Learning Analytics in Examining Students’ Learning Habits in Online Nursing Classes. Learning Analytics Seed Grant, Translational Data Analytics, The Ohio State University (Funded for $24,970 with $25,010 matching fund from EHE; In collaboration with EHE Research Methodological Center). Award period: 01/2016-08/2016.

Leadership indicators in online classrooms, Research Seed Grant, The Ohio State University. ($1,500), Award period: 01/2016—06/2016.