Our work: Digital Learners

New ways for technology to support learning

The vision for the Digital Learners initiative is that all learners have access to rich digital experiences that empower knowledge, growth, connection, and opportunity. We seek to ignite discoveries on how distinct individuals learn best virtually, enable designs that promote deep learning in a digital context, and develop pathways to scale.

The Challenge

Throughout the digital revolution, there has been a sustained conviction that technology can offer fundamentally new ways of learning, increase personalization, and greatly expand access to A+ curriculum. Yet digital learning keeps letting us down. During the early parts of the pandemic, for example, it was clear that current educational technologies have not fulfilled their potential.

Computer-aided instruction – largely designed to support the learning of right and wrong answers – does not currently leverage all that we now know about how people learn and retain information (the science of learning). As such, it does not compensate for the unique attributes of in-person education that research shows influence learning outcomes: the physical, social, and cultural contexts of learning. Rich learning experiences go beyond academics and help people learn about their identity, mindsets, decision-making and much more. These skills create independent, self-motivated learners who are prepared to continue learning in the future. These must be addressed for digital learning to achieve its full potential.

Faculty Director

Bio photo of Dan Schwartz

Dan Schwartz

I. James Quillen Dean and Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Educational Technology

Sample projects

Virtual Field Trips

Developing tools and learner-centered frameworks to create and co-experience navigable worlds via immersive, 360-degree photos and videos. Digital field trips offer unique affordances to expand access to locales, capture sense of place, and foreground agency within an experiential learning environment.

Remote hands-on skills lab for high school STEM courses using virtual reality

Working collaboratively with five underserved Bay Area high schools, we aim to introduce hands-on skills labs in their STEM courses using remote affordable VR format.