Research Portfolio Overview

My research interests span a wide variety of areas with a central theme:

to create tools that make visible and actionable
the ontological and epistemological operating systems
within our learning design and research infrastructures

In effect, I am interested in how the value systems about how we see the world (ontology) and how we think about knowing the world (epistemology) manifest in the learning systems we interact with and how interacting with them then influences our own sense-making. While I am extremely interested in facilitating the best learning experiences to learners, my focal point of impact rests on learning research designers, learning environment designers, and learning computational model / algorithm designers. The point is to shift the way we conduct research.


A Launching Anecdote

While these interests developed through many different inputs over many years, a clarifying anecdote is one that I have heard multiple times in education / learning sciences circles, and recounted succinctly in a wonderful paper by Jacobson, Kapur, and Reimann from 2016:

an individual who stops to ask a drunk at night who is prowling around on hands and knees underneath a streetlight, “What are you doing?” The drunk replies, “I’m hunting for my glasses.” “But sir, they are not here; where did you lose them?” the stranger asks. “Over in the dark alley,” says the drunk, ”but I can only see here.”


We need tools with which to venture out into the darkness and we also need tools with which to productively and responsibly interrogate the nature, affordances, and limits of our lighting.

Active Umbrella Research Directions


A Digital Graphic Novel for Learning Thermodynamics

Leading a multidisciplinary team, I co-created The Phoenix Corps, a digital graphic novel designed for facilitating learning as well as learning research.


Mapping The EpistemologY Of the Learning Sciences

With a small team of colleagues, I am engaging in interview studies and literature reviews to map out learning scientists’ beliefs about learning.


Tools Based on Complexity In Learning Research

I am creating philosophical and analytical tools to help translate frameworks and methods from complex systems science into the learning sciences.

Within these umbrella research directions, I am working on specific projects that I want to accelerate and/or collaborate on. To that end, I make available a list of projects where I am actively looking for assistance. I am also open to collaborations outside of these lists.