Using technology to enhance learning



The Centre d'études sur l'apprentissage et la performance (Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance), directed by Phil Abrami from Concordia University and which includes researchers in education, physics and mathematics, is interested in maximizing the potential of new technologies to improve and transform the way people learn and perform. The centre has developed the Learning Toolkit, consisting of three software tools: ABRACADABRA and ePEARL

ABRACADABRA encourages English literacy in beginning readers. It includes Teacher, Assessment, Parent and Communication modules. It offers 32 alphabetic, reading fluency, text comprehension and writing activities. Tests carried out in Quebec, the rest of Canada and Australia have shown the software to have a significant impact on the learning of English. In 2010, ABRACADABRA was awarded the Association of Educational Computing and Technology's Outstanding Practice Award. The researchers are currently working on adapting the program to the learning of French. 

ePEARL is a bilingual portfolio designed to encourage the development of self-regulation in students and adults. It comprises four levels: "Grades 1-2", "Grades 3-6", "secondary school" and "teachers and adults", and has features such as a tool for setting goals, a text editor and an audio recorder. ePEARL allows students to reflect on their work, share it with others, receive comments from teachers, peers or parents, and evaluate their motivation. A trial version for teaching piano is currently being tested by the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music. Experiments carried out over a two-year period showed that this software produces significant improvements in literacy skills, in addition to developing self-discipline and teaching practices. 

These software tools, which are already bearing fruit, use new technologies to enhance learning in both children and adults.

Team

Centre d'études sur l'apprentissage et la performance

Director

Phil Abrami, Université Concordia

Regular members

  • Robert Bernard, Université Concordia 
  • Eva Bures, Université Bishops 
  • Ann Louise Davidson, Université Concordia 
  • Helena Dedic, Vanier College 
  • Heather Halman, Commission scolaire Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier 
  • Steven Rosenfield, Vanier College 
  • Robert Savage, Université McGill 
  • Richard Schmid, Université Concordia 
  • Mario Tirelli, Commission scolaire English-Montréal 
  • Beverley Joy White, Leading English Education and Resource Network (LEARN)