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Arizona State University

The Arizona State University (ASU) ADL Partnership Lab is located in the Institute for the Science of Teaching and Learning (ISTL), Tempe, Arizona. The lab networks to faculty and students from a number of units around ASU interested in advancing learning and human performance support. The lab is led by faculty from The Polytechnic School in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, which provides a link to engineering specialties such as Aviation, Informatics, Human Systems Engineering, and Software Engineering.

In 2017, U.S. News and World Report listed ASU at the top of its “most innovative schools” list for the third year in a row. ASU is also ranked as one of the top military-friendly schools.


The ASU ADL Partnership Lab’s primary focus is exploratory learning environments, which are more task- than content-oriented. This includes learning that takes place in simulated environments, context-aware performance support, and just-in-time learning to support on-the-job performance of individuals and teams. The lab is looking to a future that moves beyond the traditional training “course.” It is looking towards a new paradigm for learning that is lifelong and integrates with everything we do.

Core Capabilities

The Lab seeks partners for collaborative research related to training and performance improvement, and can connect them with a range of researchers from ASU’s diverse and award winning faculty.

The research areas we can support are:

Applied Learning Technologies

  • Performance-based simulation environments
  • Game-based learning
  • Virtual worlds with pedagogical agents (virtual humans)
  • Dynamic digital textbooks

Human Systems Approach to Learning

  • Cognitive task analysis to guide learning content
  • Designing for learning
  • Usability evaluation of learning systems
  • Biometric sensing for assessing learner states

Supporting Individualized and Collaborative learning

  • Natural language learning environments
  • Learning analytics
  • Collaboration and team-based learning

In addition, the lab can connect external researchers to ISTL’s evaluation service, which can operate as an independent external evaluator on learning-related research.


Photo of Dr. Nancy J. Cooke
Dr. Nancy J. Cooke

Dr. Nancy J. Cooke is a professor of Human Systems Engineering in the Polytechnic School, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU and is the Science Director of the Cognitive Engineering Research Institute in Mesa, AZ. She is also Associate Editor of Human Factors and Immediate Past President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. She also recently chaired a study panel for the National Academies on Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science. Dr. Cooke was a member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 2008-2012. Dr. Cooke’s research interests include the study of individual and team cognition and its application to the development of cognitive and knowledge engineering methodologies, cognitive task analysis, sensor operator threat detection, homeland security systems, remotely-operated vehicles, human-robot interaction, healthcare systems, and emergency response systems. In particular, Dr. Cooke specializes in the development, application, and evaluation of methodologies to elicit and assess individual and team cognition. Education: Ph.D., Psychology New Mexico State University.

Dr. Scotty D. Craig is an Assistant Professor of Human Systems Engineering within The Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. He earned a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (Cognitive) from The University of Memphis with a focus on cognitive learning. Working at the intersection of Technology, Psychology, and the Learning Sciences, Dr. Craig has studied emotion and learning, discourse processing, multimedia learning, vicarious learning environments, and intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) in both laboratory and applied classroom settings. His goal is to provide cutting edge research at the intersection of human cognition, technology, and the learning sciences, which provides solutions to real world problems within education and training. His current research focuses on improving learning with higher-level cognitive factors such as comprehension, discourse, and cognitive affective states through the use of virtual humans within technological environments. Education: Ph.D., Experimental Psychology (Cognitive), University of Memphis, 2005.


ASU ADL Partnership Lab
Institute for the Science of Teaching & Learning
Payne Hall 108, 1000 S. Forest Mall P.O. Box 872111
Tempe, AZ 85287-2111

Tel: (480) 965-3292


ADL Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative logo

Member Since 2016