GeorgetownX Research


Reflective Sensemaking

How do we engage learners developing their reasoning support deeper learner engagement within the open learning space for courses that deal with ill-structured/messy problems?

Learning Process Model

The underlying learning process model we operationalized is that of reflective sensemaking. The sensemaking cognitive process model includes a sequence of the following: exploration, identification, processing, judgement. The reflective component of the cognitive process model is operationalized by capturing the integration of sensemaking over time (over multiple iterations of learners' interaction with the same or similarly designed activities in a course and across courses).

Learning Design Approach

With this in mind, we framed the GeorgetownX course-level and curriculum-level designs from a Community of Inquiry (CoI) perspective which accounts for cognitive, social, and teaching presences. This multi-layered learning design approach from micro (reflective sensemaking, activity-level) to meso (course-level) to macro (curriculum-level) has enabled us to link the analytics we are capturing (both survey and system data) to the learning design models to explore the learning interactions of individual students and of the group.


We expect that this exploration will help learning designers make better design decisions at each design level. In the near future, we aim to design and develop a learning e-map for both students and instructors. This e-map will have a dual purpose: to engage learners in how deep their learning is going based on their interaction and to serve as a dashboard for just-in-time teaching for instructors.

Design Innovation Group

The objective of this group is to enable CCT students to gain more hands-on involvement in the design and development of GeorgetownX Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In this group, staff from CNDLS share their experiences developing MOOCs, show some of the possibilities for modeling learning experiences using student data, and describe some of the challenges of both integrating existing tools with the edX environment and designing assessments for courses with enrollments in the tens of thousands.

The Design Innovation Group meets monthly to exchange ideas and updates about MOOCs, both at Georgetown and beyond.