A new group was recently formed within a large technical professional organization to focus on advancing technologies used in learning environments.
ICICLE (short for Industry Connections Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering) is a new inudstry group within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that brings together big tech companies, startups and academic institutions.
Initial members of the group include big tech companies like Autodesk, Boeing, Google and IBM. Baltimore startups Yet Analytics and eThink Education are also members, along with Johns Hopkins affiliated global health nonprofit Jhpiego.
Shelly Blake-Plock, the CEO of data interoperability startup Yet Analytics, is currently the acting chair of the group. He said he collaborated with Avron Barr, a writer, teacher and entrepreneur who chairs a separate IEEE committee on learning technology standards, and IEEE Standards Association board member Robby Robson to bring it to fruition.
The goal of bringing the group together is to help define and push forward the still-new profession of learning engineering. It will help to align standards and product development.
“This consortium represents the desire of learning technologists across industries to support the development of the burgeoning profession of Learning Engineer,” Blake-Plock said.
Learning engineering is a broad category covering the development of technologies like MOOCs, mobile learning environments and efforts to apply virtual reality and artificial intelligence to learning. While the presence of the word “learning” may bring edtech to mind, these technologies are being applied beyond the classroom, including on the job and in other types of training.
“There is a significant engineering aspect to the development and deployment of these learning technologies that is supported by a portfolio of existing and planned engineering and data standards, but that has yet to coalesce as an identified field of endeavor,” the group states.
By joining together, the groups in ICICLE are looking to explore areas such as the capabilities and limitations, how to use them to accomplish instructional goals and how to evaluate whether they are effective.