Jeff Bergin

Announcing the Austin Learning Lab!

Blog Post created by Jeff Bergin on Nov 14, 2017

We’re delighted to announce the launch of our first combined user-centered design and learning science lab, in Austin, Texas. More than 100 people joined to celebrate the launch and to hear leading experts discuss how research is driving a transformation in the design of next-generation learning products. The lab reflects our commitment to learners and our focus on researching learning. Moreover, it enables us to put learners at the center of our daily research and design activities.


The Austin Learning Lab is the first in a series of new labs we are building to enable our learning researchers and human-centered designers to co-design and iteratively test with students and instructors to create learning products that are highly usable and impactful. The lab comprises an adjoining observation room, remote broadcast capabilities, and usability software. It is also designed to support neurological and biometrics technology and will expand to enable researchers to study affective, cognitive, and physiological responses to product designs.


The lab was designed based upon highly successful labs at IBM and the National Cancer Institute, principles of environmental design, and consultation with leading expert Dr. Robert Atkinson, the Director of Arizona State University’s Advancing Next Generation Learning (ANGLE) Lab. The new facility is designed to help us to:


Learn more about learners. The lab provides a research space where we can meet daily with students and instructors - one-to-one or in small groups - to really understand their aspirations, struggles, and needs. We can explore in depth the problems they’re trying to solve and how we can best help them as part of their daily lives.


Learn about learning. The lab provides a space in which we can simulate a learning experience -- with an individual or small group -- in a controlled setting. Combining this tightly controlled lab work with on-campus field research with partner instructors and institutions enables our researchers to compare how learning experiences work under a variety of conditions and to make refinements accordingly.


Learn about our products. The lab also provides a space where we can quickly, regularly, and iteratively test how students and instructors react and respond to product designs at all stages in development.


The lab is led by an interdisciplinary research council comprised of user and learning researchers and it will evolve with guidance from our Learning Research Advisory Board including Dr. Christopher Dede, Dr. Mark McDaniels, and Dr. Robert Atkinson. The lab reflects a key component of our end-to-end approach to learning science that blends learning research, human-centered design, impact research, and learning analytics.

To learn more about the Learning Lab and our approach to learning science & insights, visit our website.