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August 2015

It’s that time of year again – time to welcome new readers! In this post we will demystify all the acronyms and tell you a little about us, our events and where to find us on social media.

Who are CoCo? We are the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (you can see why we shorten it), a University of Sydney Research Centre in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. Our core team of about 30 staff and students complete research on the sciences and technologies of learning. We also offer postgraduate study options at the Masters and PhD levels.

CoCo is a core part of a larger research network at the University - STL (The Sciences and Technologies of Learning research network). This network includes other facilities and centres at the University, such as CHAI (Computer Human Adapted Interaction), LATTE (Learning & Affect Technologies Engineering), and the Design Studio. Our multidisciplinary research looks at enhancing the ability of all those involved in education - formal and informal - to create learning environments that help people develop the skills, knowledge and dispositions to make innovative contributions.

Our events include:

  • Seminars on learning and educational innovation, presented by local and international experts, on most Wednesdays in semester

  • STL Research Fest - an annual event inviting researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas, showcase work, and catch up on recent innovations. Our next fest is on 5 November 2015 in the Charles Perkins Centre Hub.

To hear about upcoming events, join our mailing list -
To attend our Research Fest on Nov 5th go to
CoCo website -
CoCo Twitter - @CoCoCentre
STL website -
STL Twitter - @STLSydney
STL Blog -
YouTube -
For general information on CoCo or STL, email

MJ267.jpgJoin us on 26 August for Beyond carts and horses: issues in the design of advanced learning systems, a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Professor Michael Jacobson.

In this talk I consider three themes: what we learn with, what we learn, and how we learn. A recently completed ARC funded research project is discussed. Ninth grade students used agent-based computer models to learn difficult scientific knowledge about complex systems of relevance to understanding climate change. We investigated if varying the sequencing of pedagogical structure (SPS) provided for the computer models would result in differential learning outcomes of the targeted complexity and climate concepts. The experimental condition used a low-to-high (LH) SPS sequence based on productive failure (Kapur & Bielaczyc, 2012), whereas the comparison condition was based on a teacher’s suggestion to employ a more traditional teaching approach—which is classified as a high-to-low (HL) SPS sequence—for the classroom activities. The main results found significant learning of ideas such as “greenhouse gases” and “carbon cycle” by both groups on the posttest. However, for the more conceptually challenging complex system ideas, such as “self organization” and “emergent properties,” only the LH experimental group demonstrated a significantly higher performance on the posttest compared to the HL comparison condition. Theoretical implications of these findings for the design of advanced learning systems, such as schema abstraction, are considered. In terms of practical implications, I suggest that these research findings challenge many current edtech approaches such as “flipped classrooms” and “MOOCs” that continue to use LH SPS as the core of their pedagogical learning designs.

Peter Goodyear and Lina Markauskaite have been working in partnership with CSU, Deakin and UWS on a new OLT project "Enhancing workplace learning through mobile technology".

This project explores how students can make best use of personal digital devices in workplace learning to bridge different learning spaces (classroom, workplace and virtual), connect learning and work, and to strengthen networked, collaborative, integrative communication processes between students, academics and workplace educators. The outcomes of this project will be a mobile learning capacity building framework for workplace learning (WPL) with a specific focus to enhance students' ability to create their personal learning environments. The framework will include a conceptual map, physical representations (exemplars), action oriented thinking tools.
The project team already developed and launched the initial toolkit, named the “GPS for WPL”, aimed at helping students, academics and workplace educators to enhance professional learning experiences by making better use of mobile technology.

If you are interested in possibilities to collaborate with Peter and Lina trailing this toolkit within professional experience courses that you teach and/or assist the project's team to improve this resource by providing feedback and suggestions, please contact Lina or Peter.

For more information about the project updates, please visit the project’s blog.

About the Blog

Research by the University's Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI).