E-Learning Research Collaborative (ERC)

Part of KUCRL since 2000


Ed Meyen and Jim Miller 


The mission of the e-Learning Research Collaborative is to create new solutions to emerging challenges and opportunities to optimize the application of technology to enhance learning in educational and professional development settings. This involves the study, development, and research of new designs, principles, practices, tools, policies and learning environments that contribute to the engagement of learners across the lifespan in teaching and learning. 

The mission of the eRC is aligned with the mission of the KUCRL. It is committed to improving the learning, performance, and quality-of-life outcomes for all learners, including those with disabilities. The research and development goals of the eRC are targeted to advanced technologies as applied to learning. We do address content, behavior, and interventions involving parents as part of our R&D mission. Our primary contribution to the research of the KUCRL is in the area of online learning environments for adults and children. The eLC was one of the first university-based interdisciplinary research and development units established nationally with a commitment to e-learning. In this context, the legacy of the lab has added to the capacity of the KUCRL as it has moved forward with national R&D initiatives pertaining to e-learning. 

Questions That Drive eRC's Work

These questions help the eRC define a culture in which we can learn from our work-in- progress, over time, in an environment in which we strive to meet needs where partners share in addressing solutions. At the same time, we are highly committed to contributing to the mission of the university through the engagement of students from the interdisciplinary environment of an Institute for Higher Education. These are couched in the context of the eRC.

  • What factors impact the design of online instruction for diverse learners—with diversity being broadly defined across all levels of education, including P-12 education and parent involvement, postsecondary education, and professional development?
  • What can be learned from the development and intense field-testing of online instructional resources in real-life settings to create conditions that drive research- based design decisions?
  • What is the relationship of design theory to the development of online learning designs that are most effective in meeting the needs of learners with serious learning challenges (e.g., students with disabilities and at-risk learners)?
  • What are the conditions central to academic institutions to maximize their contributions to digital learning while also maximizing their mission to the core functions of higher education institutions? 

Notable Findings, Outcomes, and Accomplishments

Examples of major findings: Findings vary depending on the needs experienced in one’s role. We value findings that grow from field-testing of what we do to move us forward in our commitment to designing and developing effective programs to benefit all learners. The focus of the eLC is not on the silver bullet but rather on a continuum of progress building from prior work.

  • Online instructional resources in math that are aligned with curriculum standards combined with immediate feedback to teachers and students do contribute to higher student performance on summative assessments.
  • Instruction targeted to achieving proficiency in math concepts embedded in standards/indicators can be differentiated through online instruction with varying levels of reading. The work on low cognitive load tutorials is in response to this finding. 
  • The integration of multimedia options within online instructional options for adult learners does result in learners making choices based on their preferences for modes of instruction.
  • In developing online professional development, it is important to position self-check assessments close to the presentation of a critical element of content.
  • The alignment of online resources made available to teachers, students, and parents is perceived as needing to be aligned with instructional standards.
  • In science, we have found that it is important to have the content reviewed by scientists in addition to subject-matter experts. The scientists review the science only and not the pedagogy.