The Simon Initiative was launched by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to study technology-aided learning. Working in unison with the initiative, CMU has established the Global Learning Council, a group of educators, researchers, and technology company executives, to develop standards for online learning and identify best practices.
“In the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion thanks to the development of technology about the delivery of education in a scalable way to large numbers of students across national borders,” CMU President Subra Suresh told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “The missing piece is how much are students learning amid all this technology? The other piece is what are the metrics, best practices, and eventually standards, if you will, that are collectively developed and acceptable for those who engage?”
Carnegie Mellon has studied student interaction with learning software for decades and will provide access to that data, along with seed funding to support the work.
“Online education is now taking on an extremely prominent role internationally,” said Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities and a member of the council. “Yet even as online education expands rapidly and on an enormous scale, there is very little good research on the best forms of online learning, and, I might add, there are no good studies on what constitutes bad online pedagogy, of which there is a fair amount.”