IEEE Consortium established to support the development of Learning Engineering

BALTIMORE, MD — The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology, has established a new industry consortium for learning engineering. Charter participating entities include Google, IBM, Autodesk, Boeing, and Cognizant as well as academic institutions, technology startups, and standards development organizations including the MedBiquitous Consortium.

The IEEE Industry Connections Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering (ICICLE) is an open forum and community-driven platform for defining and supporting the profession of Learning Engineering.

ICICLE is part of the IEEE Standards Association’s (IEEE-SA) Industry Connections (IC) program. Participation in ICICLE is widespread and is comprised of leading organizations in industry, academia, and government. The Industry Connections Program helps incubate new standards and related products and services by facilitating collaboration among organizations and individuals as they hone and refine their thinking on rapidly changing technologies.

“As innovative teachers, schools, and training departments deploy an ever-expanding array of new products and explore new ways of teaching and learning, the body of knowledge about how to use these technologies and how to design the increasingly complex information systems that result is the basis for a new engineering discipline,” said Avron Barr, chair of the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee.

In recent years, the use of technology to support the way people learn in school, on the job, and on their own has accelerated dramatically. These technologies include learning management systems, MOOCS, authoring tools, mobile learning environments, serious games, simulations, applications of virtual and augmented reality, learning record stores, open badges and micro-credentials, pedagogical agents enabled by artificial intelligence, online laboratories, and much more. There is a significant engineering aspect to the development and deployment of these learning technologies that is supported by a portfolio of existing and planned engineering and data standards, but that has yet to coalesce as an identified field of endeavor.

While Learning Science research has generated many of these new technologies, neither the scientific community nor the instructional designers who create new learning activities offer much guidance concerning the capabilities and limitations of the underlying technologies; how to use them to accomplish instructional goals; and how to evaluate the effectiveness of both the technologies and the various pedagogical innovations they allow.

Motivated by the need to provide this guidance, IEEE ICICLE was established by leading organizations across the world.

“This consortium represents the desire of learning technologists across industries to support the development of the burgeoning profession of Learning Engineer,” said Shelly Blake-Plock, Acting Chair of ICICLE.