An integral part of the FabLearn program is foundational, rigorous learning sciences research.

A multi-disciplinary and international FabLearn research network collaborates to actively explore the practice of teaching and learning in makerspaces and fab labs and the processes underlying project-based, inquiry-driven education, especially in the STEM disciplines.

Led by Columbia’s Paulo Blikstein, associate professor at the Columbia University Teachers College, with international research collaborators at Chiang Mai University (Thailand), Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Helsinki (Finland), Copernicus Science Centre (Poland), and University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), with additional sites in Spain, Australia, Russia, and Mexico, researchers work together across several domains of research in education, human computer interaction, educational data mining, and multimodal learning analytics.

Areas of Research

Learning Assessment:

  • Big data multimodal learning analytics tools for automated assessment in project based education
  • Research on cognitive and non-cognitive learning gains, spatial reasoning, self-efficacy, and social networks within makerspaces
  • Identification of intervention points through longitudinal research 
  • Multi-country comparative learning outcome studies



  • Tangible/Virtual interfaces for learning
  • Low cost robotics
  • Next generation biomaking tools



  • Design of the physical and virtual environments for constructionist learning

Instructional Methodologies: 

  • Inquiry and experimentation strategies
  • Interactive simulations vs. physical manipulative environments
  • Bifocal modeling for science teaching: reconciliation of discrepant events between physical experiments and virtual models
  • Order of instruction and preparation for future learning


Socio-Cultural Factors: 

  • Impact on under-resourced and under-privileged student populations
  • Gender issues in making
  • Identity and self-efficacy in makerspaces


Implementation Models: 

  • Proof of concept, school, district, state and national implementation models for public education

Related Links