Recent years have been marked by an acceleration in the development of technologies that support the way people learn at school, on the job, and as a part of lifelong pursuits.
The rise of these technologies in the learning space is part of the broader digital transformation that is making an impact on all areas of work and play. Behind all of this digital transformation lies a significant engineering aspect. While these learning technologies are supported by a portfolio of existing and planned technology standards, the discipline and profession of the Learning Engineer itself has yet to coalesce into a well-defined domain within the field of engineering.
In December of 2017, motivated by the need to support the development of Learning Engineering as a profession, the IEEE-SA Standards Board ICCom recommended the creation of a new 24-month Industry Connections activity to provide definition to and support for the burgeoning field of Learning Engineering. The work was sponsored by the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee under the leadership of Avron Barr and was supported by Robby Robson, member of the IEEE-SA Standards Board. The recommendation was approved by the IEEE-SA Standards Board, and ICICLE — the IEEE IC Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering — was born.
“A Learning Engineer is someone who draws from evidence-based information about human development — including learning — and seeks to apply these results at scale, within contexts, to create affordable, reliable, data-rich learning environments,” says Bror Saxberg, vice president of learning science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and member of ICICLE’s advisory board.
Less than six weeks after its formation, ICICLE has fifty participating organizations including Boeing, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, UL, and Allegiant; academic institutions including the Simon Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University and the Lynch School of Education at Boston College; government organizations including the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative at the U.S. Department of Defense, and a whole host of learning ecosystem participants including ACT, EDUCAUSE, and the IEEE Education Society.