SMARTlab has been selected by two major Irish government agencies (Enterprise Ireland and the IDA) to play a major role in the development of the Learnovate Centre. The objective of the Learnovate Centre is to greatly enhance the competitive advantage of the Irish learning technology industry by partnering with leading research groups in Ireland.
The selected partners are:
- The Knowledge and Data Engineering Group in Trinity College Dublin
- Clarity & Insight Labs and SMARTlab, UCD
- DERI at the National University of Ireland, Galway
- TSSG at Waterford Institute of Technology
Hosted within Trinity College’s Technology and Enterprise Centre in the Dublin docklands, the Learnovate Centre will provide a unique and invaluable industry-led entity, enabling the delivery of innovative learning technology research and development.
The Learnovate Centre will seek to evolve into a globally recognised centre of innovation for its market-focused approach to applied Learning Technology research for the benefit of, and with direct relevance to, Irish industry.
The Learnovate Centre employs a set of high-impact milestones and deliverables. These include:
- Establishing the Learnovate Centre as an international centre of excellence in teaching and learning technology innovation. By working closely with the academic partners’ international and communication offices, Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, the industrial consortium and the international board of advisors, the Learnovate Centre will showcase Ireland as a global centre of excellence for innovation in teaching and learning technologies.
- Working towards the development of a set of high-quality position research papers in journals and conferences with significant industry impact.
- Fostering an environment in which creative researchers can interact with industry to solve critical business problems. In the learning and development space, the Learnovate Centre is set to become a hub for learning and teaching innovation. This will create a portfolio of valuable IPR for the Learnovate Centre, the industrial consortium members and for Ireland Inc.
- The commercial exploitation of Learnovate Centre technology outputs through licensing and spin-off company creation. The Learnovate Centre will be a research centre focused on solving real-world learning and teaching problems. This close alignment to practical application ensures that the research outputs of the centre are ready for commercial exploitation. Through close partnership with the industrial consortium, the Learnovate Centre can ensure rapid and profitable exploitation of its research technologies.
- The creation of a sustainable centre for excellence in learning technologies. The Learnovate Centre partners are some of the largest grossing researchers in the country. This capacity to attract high profile funding from national and international sources provides the Learnovate Centre with unprecedented opportunities to expand and grow its research programme over time. Building on this research funding track record, the partners have also been directly involved with creating high-value technology companies such as Iona and ChangingWorlds. The Learnovate Centre will, in time, act as a commercial incubator for spin-off and spin-in teaching and learning innovations.
Updates of the Learnovate Centre
SMARTlab at UCD recently completed a state-of-the-art report for the I-Learn Project (funded by Learnovate) that aims to investigate the role of recommended systems in virtual worlds.
The report (authored by Nigel Newbutt) outlines the state-of-the-art related to immersive learning environments. It focuses on 3D immersive environments and in particular 3D collaborative virtual environments, otherwise known as virtual worlds. Within these domains several learning opportunities exist while enabling users to become immersed and involved in learning activities. In addition, several core skills can be rehearsed, namely; group work, peer-peer learning and social skills development (Parsons et al., 2013). The report aims to bring appropriate and relevant literature to the fore and present some key studies that have used 3D ILE’s in educational settings. Finally, recommendations and conclusions are presented.
The report will be used to inform and contextualise the practical implementation of the I-Learn project. This will see OpenSim used within schools, where students will engage with specified tasks (focused on the environment) and recommender systems will be used for the first time in a collaborative virtual environment (CVE). The aim will be to assess how or if recommended systems can be in-world to enable learning opportunities.
The project is ongoing and further reports will be available in due course.