Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Learning Technology (ISSN: 2306-0212)
Volume 21, Number 2, 1-2 (2021)
This work is under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 3.0 license. For more information, see Creative Commons License

Authors: Maiga Chang, Rita Kuo, Jerry Chih-Yuan Sun, Jun Chen Hsieh, Danial Hooshyar, Ahmed Tlili

IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology aims to contribute to the field of Learning Technology by serving the needs of professionals working in this field. It sponsors multiple international conferences and workshops, such as International Conference on Wireless, Mobile and Ubiquitous Technologies in Education (WMUTE) and International Conference on Technology for Education (T4E). International Conference on Advanced Learning Technology (ICALT) is one of the most important conference organized by the technical committee and the annual meeting of the committee is hosted in the conference to listen to community’s words.

The Early Career Researcher Award in Learning Technologies is also announced in ICALT every year in order to encourage more young researchers contribute their works in the area of learning technology. We are honored to invite the award winner in 2020 – Dr. Ahmed Tlili – to write an article in this issue describing the path of his research career. His work focuses on collecting students’ personality traits – including subjective and objective factors – to understand how students’ personalities affect their learning path. He also encourages young researchers to build their research network as early as possible by contacting the researchers whose research works that they are interested in. This article can help young researchers understand how people success in their early career path.

Besides the letter from the award winner, there are two articles in Emerging Learning Technologies, one article in Report from Developing Countries, one article in Collaboration Opportunities, and one article in Book & Report Reviews section. The first article, entitled “Project OSCAR: Open-source animations repository to foster self-regulated learning,” in the Emerging Learning Technologies section was written by Iyer, Sharma, Sahasrabudhe, Garg, and Lokhande. This article presents the design of an online repository of learning objects (LOs) consisting of 2D and 3D’s audio-visual animations and simulations for STEM concepts; and are available in multiple Indian languages. This repository allows educators to publish and manage educational resources effectively and allows learners to access anytime online for viewing and downloading. The design of each LO with a STEM concept is based on the theory of self-regulated learning (SRL), where specific SRL strategies such as goal settings and self-assessment are integrated with the interface design. The authors evaluated the usability of the website and the effectiveness in terms of cost, time, and quality of the LOs’ production time.

The second article in the Emerging Learning Technologies section is “BR∀CE: A tool for supporting the teaching and learning of database theoretical query languages through composing tiles,” written by Kawash and Meston. The article presents a web-based tool called BR∀CE, where learners can construct visual and tiled-based queries of Relational Algebra (RA) and Calculus (RC). The article demonstrates the steps of using BR∀CE, which allows learners to snap the tile-based operators together, working with the relational database schema, constructing RA and RC queries, and later generating their equivalent RA/RC expression and Structured Query Language (SQL) code. Both articles provide innovative applications for learning through interactive web-based design, and the detailed illustration of design processes can be useful for relevant researchers.

The article published in Report from Developing Countries, entitled “Distance Higher Education Paradigm in Brazil”, addressed distant higher education (DHE) in the Brazilian context. The analysis from a bibliographic review and official data provided by the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (INEP) between 2008 and 2018 revealed the substantial increase in DHE undergraduate enrollments in comparison with the little growth in face-to-face learning. The students’ performance in distance education was similar to that in the face-to-face mode, suggesting its positive effects. The author, nevertheless, cautioned the need of examining the quality of distance education pedagogies before the genuine effects of distance education could be validated.

In line with the rapid adoption of the open education movement, the study in the Collaboration Opportunities section, entitled “Operationalizing the Learner-Centric MOOC model using Communities of Practice”, investigates how to design efficient Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that could engage students for better learning outcomes. Specifically, this study describes the MOOC design process based on the Learner-Centric MOOC (LCM) model and the theory of ‘Communities of Practice’ (CoPs). It then moves to talk about possible collaborations in this field, including design instructional activities based on the LCM model, as well as data analysis to evaluate ‘learner-centricity’ in MOOCs.

In the Book & Report Review section, Chen, Duan, and Wang in the article “Using Digital Technologies in Museum Learning Activities to Enhance Learning Experience: A Systematic Review” systematically reviewed the literature of technology-assisted museum learning. To carry out the review, PRISMA guidelines were practiced and to analyze the collected articles, the authors employed Activity Theory which helped to investigate the state of the literature through seven dimensions of subjects, instrument, object, rules, community, division of labors, and outcome.

Briefly, with regard to subjects, authors found that comprehension test can be used to make the impact of the prior knowledge clearer when analyzing the result, decreasing the impact of prior knowledge on experiments. Regarding instruments, it was found that different cognitive levels and characteristics of participants should be taken into account with the aim of providing personalized experiences according to individual’s needs. Concerning object, the authors reported that creating more technology-assisted workshops that involve cooperation is one way that allows learners to learn from each other with the help of digital tools or technologies, making more positive impacts on the learning process and outcomes. With regard to rules, it was found that having more participants would help to set control groups with different conditions, removing the interferences and find more support for the results. As for community, authors recommended to keep schoolchildren’s parents informed about activities and have them involved in the learning process with children with the aim of keeping a safe learning environment in museums. Regarding the division of labour, authors found that updating the role, mindset, and pedagogies of teachers, as well as their proper training could facilitate adopting new approaches to educate learners. Finally, authors found that due to contradiction in learners’ experiences and the use of digital tools in museum, researchers should be aware of the tension among learners, technologies, and museum learning activities, and truly transform the way of learning as well as the mindset of learners.

The current submission statistics show that authors receive the first decision notification in average 24.15 days, and for the accepted articles the authors get the acceptance notification in average 44.29 days. The accepted articles are published online in average 90.40 days after they were submitted. Most of the editorial board members will participate in the IEEE TCLT Annual Report session, held at 1 PM in GMT on July 12, 2021, which is opened for all participants in ICALT 2021. We are looking forward to hearing your comments and suggestions to the bulletin in the meeting.