The FAS Learning Technologies Program Policy Initiative
Emerging technologies make it practical to approach learning in ways that learning scientists, theorists, and educational psychologists have advocated for years. Advanced information technologies such as virtual reality, visualization, digital modeling, digitization, simulation, games, virtual worlds and intelligent one-on-one tutoring systems dramatically enhance teaching and learning of elusive concepts by translating abstractions into real-world contexts and providing customized instruction and individualized assessments. To realize the full potential of this technology and ensure its pervasiveness in all institutions of learning and training we must undertake a long-term, large-scale effort to research, develop, test and disseminate tools for building advanced learning systems.
A classic market failure, outlined in the FAS National Summit on Educational Games Report,exists that discourages private industry from heavily investing in basic research to exploit emerging information technologies for learning. Precompetitive research and development for education constitutes a gaping hole in the national budget which invests a mere 0.01 percent of total R&D expenditures. Given the successful implementation of information technologies into every sector from medicine to commerce and its promise to have a profound impact throughout society, this situation cries out for a major federal research investment to do for learning what the National Science Foundation does for science, the National Institutes of Health do for health and what the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) does for defense.
As the leading coalition partner for Digital Promise FAS is actively working to establish this major are working to establish this major federal research program in R&D in learning technologies. Our effort includes the development of a research plan for a national center of learning science and technology as well as a concerted effort of outreach to the public, the press, and the Congress to build support for such an organization. We have collaborated with hundreds of highly diverse experts to develop priorities for such an institution and continue to champion this cause by organizing diverse working groups of scientists, business leaders, educators and policy makers. The flagship work of the Learning Technologies Program is the series of comprehensive Learning Science and Technology Roadmaps,prepared at the request of Congress.
Here is an article by Dr. Henry Kelly, Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in which he explains how games, simulations, and other information technologies can revolutionize and personalize education. Games, Cookies, and the Future of Education.
Also see our Research page: Research
Contact us: LearningTech@fas.org.