AERA Launches Virtual Research Learning Center
AERA Launches Virtual Research Learning Center
AERA Launches Virtual Research Learning Center
February 2013

AERA has announced the launch of a Virtual Research Learning Center (VRLC) starting in 2013. The purpose of the center is to offer, in virtual space, education and training related to education research for wide audiences of scholars, researchers, and others who use and develop research both nationally and worldwide.

The VRLC will deliver education research courses and training through multiple formats such as webinars, live video streams, podcasts, expert discussion, and other media innovations. In addition to targeting graduate students and faculty, the VRLC will include courses and materials for researchers who work in program evaluation organizations, school districts, research firms, think tanks, and other research institutes who seek intensive exposure rather than a comprehensive course. Practitioner and policy audiences will also find products designed for their purposes.


The ultimate goal is for researchers around the world to turn to the AERAVRLC to enhance, expand, and refresh their research skills. AERA seeks to make the VRLC into a highprofile, high-demand research training resource for introductory and advanced courses on research methods, data analysis, and professional/career development in education research. “We have been working on this concept for over a year,” said Felice Levine, AERA executive director, “AERA intends to scale up our commitment to research capacity building of excellence, using virtual space to make our offerings more accessible and flexible, whether for early career scholars, those seeking advanced training or to retool, or other users wishing to be more research and data savvy.” 

George Wimberly, AERA director of professional development, is leading this initiative. Wimberly noted that “the plan is to inaugurate the VRLC sensibly and incrementally, beginning with five real-time streamed professional development courses at the 2013 Annual Meeting.” These mini-courses (four hours long) will be available to anyone anywhere in real time through live web-broadcasting or subsequent web access through the VRLC. Wimberly emphasized that “once you sign up for a course, you can see it at any time and review segments as much as you wish.”

Annual Meeting participants who take any of the five courses on site at the AERA Annual Meeting will also have later access to the courses through the VRLC. For online-only participation, VRLC registration will open toward the end of March. The VRLC and this initial set of courses will be publicized widely through social media, on the listservs of divisions and SIGs, through other associations and organizations, and on the AERA website.

AERA will seek feedback and reactions from all course registrants, who will be asked to evaluate the delivery of the courses and suggest potential improvements and innovations to enhance research competencies and the value of the VRLC. Further information will be available on the AERA website in March 2013. For additional questions, contact George Wimberly at

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