Learning Environments occur in a range of places and require similar dimensions for defining their effectiveness. In our lab research and development of learning environments explore the use of Cyber-enabled learning experiences in and out of the classroom.

This research and instructional design is based on the How People Learn Framework which integrates a wide range of empirically tested pedagogical approaches to learning.


NEESacademy is a virtual learning institute to support the education and outreach of the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulations.  Funded by the NSF, this project provides a potential for demonstrating the potential of cyber learning from P-12 to professional practice using HUBzeroTM

eQUEST– Virtual worlds offer a multiple ways for students and teams to interaction with each.  Founded on a grant from by Purdue’s Discovery Learning Center we designed AeroQuest which has been refined into QuakeQuest for the NEES group and integrated in the HUB technologies.   The world is being used to research questions about design tools for teams, team decision making and informal learning from a distance.


Systems Thinking requires blending knowledge from multiple experiences to make sense of new situations.  In our lab we explore various ways to support understanding how people acquire knowledge about systems through interacting with multiple representations of systems.  An important dimension of our research include the use of digital and manual manipulative devices to support knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer. 

Graphical Representations to Assess System Performance (GRASP) Funded through the National Science Foundation

How do experts and students’ reason about complex systems using graphical representations?    



Simulations on HUBzero technologies can provide a critical element of learning experiences.

How can these experiences be blended into various learning experiences?





ADAPTIVE EXPERTISE and knowledge transfer involve learning noticing how knowledge from prior context can be used to make sense of new context.  In our lab we are describing how this knowledge develops over time and the mechanisms that support its development. 

This research leverages theories of learning based on perception and use of mental models to construct new knowledge.

Precursors to Engineering Thinking (PET): Intentional Design for Exploring Artifacts (IDEA) funded through the INSPIRE institute for P6 Engineering Education

How do children’s problem solving abilities and intuitions of physical concepts develop through sustained play with blocks and other manual manipulatives?






Haptic devices combined with visualizations provide opportunities for students to leverage multiple modalities to increase their conceptual understanding of abstract ideas.

Can analogical reasoning through force feedback perception develop learner’s conception of force and self-assembly in nanotechnology?