Location: Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Application deadline: June 2017
The main aim of this PhD project is to advance in the research field of Technology Enhance Learning (TEL) by proposing new effective Learning Design techniques to connect Ubiquitous Learning with Learning Analytics to actively support and enhance situated learning scenarios.
With “situated” learning, we mean a ubiquitous learning situation that happens when learners take a technological device (e.g. smartphone) into an educationally relevant real-world location and the tool helps the users to learn from that authentic setting.
In this context, the analysis of data (Learning Analytics) about learners and their contexts (e.g. physical and digital interactions, social behaviour, learner’s profile) can be very helpful to design meaningful ubiquitous learning. The provision of just in time adaptive learning (based on the analysis of the learners’ data) is still a challenge for TEL.
In general, Design has been a topic of interest in education for many years. Design implies a systematic conception and planning process taking place prior to the development of something, or prior to the execution of some plan, in order to solve a problem. The notion of Learning Design has also been explored, focusing on ways of representing teachers’ pedagogical ideas (e.g., unit of learning, course, or sequence of tasks) in a standard format interpretable by technological devices, able to be shared and reused.
In this PhD thesis, Learning Design will be applied to identify design factors, and to support the different stages of the design process (conceptualization, authoring and implementation) and orchestration of Ubiquitous Learning activities. This project will advance the state of the art in this domain by researching how Learning Design, can
play a key role in a new generation of Ubiquitous Learning tools that integrates Learning Analytics services for re-thinking new situated learning scenarios. The PhD fellow will carry out empirical-oriented research to develop new knowledge in how learning design, ubiquitous learning and analytics allow us to advance the design of 21st century education. 
For this reason, a successful candidate is expected to perform excellent research within TEL, human centered design, ubiquitous learning, learning analytics and related areas.
The position requires good English oral and writing skills as the candidate will be interacting with a multidisciplinary team of international researchers and the job will include progress reports in English. In addition, Spanish or/and Catalan will be valuable especially when conducting pilots in real contexts. More specific and desired qualifications and skills are detailed below.
This research project will be supervised by Dr. Hernández-Leo (permanent faculty staff) and Dr. Santos (post-doctoral researcher), both members of the Group of Interactive Technologies (GTI) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona. The GTI focuses on human aspects and technology and has a lab focused on technologies for education. The research of the educational technologies lab, led by Dr. Hernández-Leo, lies at the intersection of network and computer applications, human-computer interaction and learning sciences. The team have extensive experience in Learning Design technologies (e.g., Collage, LdShake, ILDE), Ubiquitous Learning (e.g. QuesTInSitu, Discovering the Campus, Worthplay, ChangeMakers) and are currently involved in Learning Analytics projects.
The PhD fellow will be an active member of the GTI (UPF) and will participate in relevant research activities within ongoing projects and initiatives in the research line of TEL with particular focus on the connection of Ubiquitous Learning, Learning Analytics and Learning Design.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF, http://www.upf.edu/en/) is a public university located in Barcelona. It is the best Spanish university according to the London Times higher education index, 2011, and it's the number one Spanish university in number of ERC grants. The Department of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT, http://www.upf.edu/etic/) is the best in Computer Science in Spain, according to the Shanghai index 2009. The accreditation Units of Excellence Maria de Maeztu 2016-19 recognizes the units in Spain that perform cutting-edge research and are among the world's best in their respective areas: only 3 university departments are accredited as such in Spain, and ICT-UPF is the only one among technology and engineering.
This fellowship is considered as a Predoctoral Research Contract (PRC), due to the approval of the Spanish law 14/2011 on Science, Technology and Innovation, and involve some teaching assistance duties.
  • Accredited undergraduate degree (Bachelor degree or recognized equivalent degree from an accredited Higher Education Institution).  
  • Accredited graduate/master’s degree (equivalent to a Spanish Master Universitario/Oficial, Master’s of Research…. ) in Computer Science, Learning Technologies, HCI or equivalent, or an education at the equivalent level. The candidate needs to fulfill the admission requirements of the UPF ICT PhD program https://www.upf.edu/web/doctorats/tecnologies-de- la-informacio- i-les-comunicacions
  • A good knowledge of interaction design and data analytics is valuable.
  • Programming skills.
  • Have a demonstrable level of English (B2 or higher).
Additional desired qualifications:
  • Spanish or Catalan
  • Academic publications
Emphasis will be put on personal qualities and potential as a researcher. High importance will also be attached to personal communication and cooperation skills.
Contact: please send application with CV, contact information of two references, and a motivation letter to davinia DOT hernandez AT upf DOT edu and patricia DOT santos AT upf DOT edu.