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University of Memphis

The University of Memphis ADL Partnership Lab is located in the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT) on the campus of the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. Researchers associated with the lab include faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, and advanced graduate students in the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS).

Core Capabilities

The researchers at the lab have extensive experience in research, development, and evaluation of advanced learning environments, but welcome collaboration with other researchers and policymakers who share similar goals. Areas of expertise include:

  • Cognitive Studies of Learning Systems – tests a learning system’s ability to maximize the user’s cognitive capacities and thus improve the user’s learning experience. The randomized, controlled experiments allow researchers to determine if a learning technology system is effective, and to suggest improvements based on current cognitive research.
  • Impact Study of Learning Technology in Applied Settings – conducts real-world tests of learning systems and learning science techniques using controlled randomized classroom studies. The end-goal is to provide effective methods for learning that can stand up to the stress of real-world environments such as classrooms or e-learning course environments.
  • Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) Enhancement of Learning Content – develops dialogue-based intelligent tutoring systems. These systems tutor learners using natural language conversations led by a system that uses questions, hints, prompts, and summaries in a simulation of a real tutor. These systems can be integrated into existing learning content to provide a just-in-time check for understanding of the material along with scaffolded learning, if needed.
  • Usability Analysis for Learning Environments (UALE) – conducts usability studies using eye-tracking technologies and read-aloud protocols to evaluate learning environments online and offline. The primary goal of UALE is to provide services to organizations, such as analyzing learning environments and offering recommendations for making those environments more user-friendly in order to enhance learning. Recommendations are based on cognitive theories of learning as well as principles of human-computer interaction (HCI) specifically tailored to learning.
  • Text Analysis Using Computational Linguistics Tools – helps organizations and researchers improve the readability and comprehension of written information. Services provided include analyzing written content, such as web pages, brochures or questionnaires, and offering recommendations for making the content more comprehensible to the target audience.


The University of Memphis ADL Partnership Lab’s primary R&D focuses on complex learning environments, specifically how computer technology can improve learning. Activities range from basic research on cognitive psychology of learning and memory to software development for Intelligent Tutoring Systems.

The lab facilitates the research required to address current and future training challenges faced by the military, government, academia, and civilian workforce through the applied use of learning technologies, such as natural dialogue systems and intelligent tutoring systems.


Photo of Dr. Xiangen Hu
Dr. Xiangen Hu

Dr. Xiangen Hu is a professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Hu received his Master’s degree in applied mathematics from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (1985), and a Master’s degree in Social Sciences (1991) and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences (1993), both from the University of California, Irvine.

He joined the University of Memphis in 1993.

Dr. Hu’s primary research areas include Mathematical Psychology, Research Design and Statistics, and Cognitive Psychology. His specific research interests range from human learning and memory, computational linguistics and artificial intelligence to mathematical psychology, where he has published extensively.

Dr. Hu has been active in the ADL Initiative from its beginning, becoming one of the early advocates of SCORM® (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), especially during his tenure as an R&D director at an e-Learning company in Memphis.

He has developed several e-Learning applications and served as computational architect for several federal grants at the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS) at The University of Memphis. Dr. Hu served as president for the Society for Computers in Psychology (SCiP) from 2008 to 2009.


365 Innovation Drive Suite 403 B
Memphis, TN 38152-3115

(901) 678-5736


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Member Since 2010

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Partner Overview Slides