Next Generation Learner



The Next Generation Learner research program is focused on what it means to be a 21st Century Learner and how future learners will use technologies to meet the life-long learning challenges of the 21st century. The Next Generation Learner Research capability directly supports the Next Generation Learner of ADL’s research and development strategies.

Next Generation Learner research involves investigating tailored interventions and developing prototypes toward the development or refinement of knowledge and skills to promote cognitive adaptability in technology-mediated environments, incorporate learners’ goals and motivations, and matching future learning experiences with advanced learning resources appropriately. Our approach to better understanding Next Generation Learners involves leveraging formal and informal learning opportunities with emerging technologies that occur throughout the learning cycle: during reflection, among peers, formal learning, when we are at play, and in community.

Learning occurs best when situated in authentic contexts, environments, and problems. Learning also occurs in culturally-situated contexts, is negotiated socially, and embedded in tool use. As such, learning technologies often reflect both the intended and unconscious values and world views of their developers, designers, and researchers. Whether we are aware of it or not, we designers and researchers of learning technologies cannot help but communicate our own cultural values and world views through the artifacts we create. These notions form a basis from which to initiate research and explorations into the design of learning environments and instructionally sound artifacts. Our research approach strives to better understand our role in the invention of the future and how we can co-create training and education technology and innovations that are effective, ethical, equitable, inclusive, and multicultural.

Research Summary

Our research on the Next Generation Learner is concerned with increasing our understanding of how emerging technologies, culture, and socio-technical systems will influence the way we learn. Understanding the next generation learner inevitably helps our team inform future development of next generation learning environments, technologies, and tools.

The future of technologically-mediated, distributed learning will significantly impact our society and global community. Therefore our research interests span domestic and international learners from NATO and the Department of Defense Education Activities (DoDEA) to Military training and K-12 education.

Our current research projects involve investigating cognitive adaptability, distributed cognition interactions with personal assistants for learning in virtual worlds, game preferences, and the anthropology of personal assistants for learning. We collaborate with the Services to understand learner models, learning assessment, intelligent tutoring systems, and the use of games and virtual worlds for Military training and STEM education.


Recommended Resources:

All NGL Resources: