There is increasing awareness of the complexity of knowledge needs and the limitations of current course-based or siloed instructional learning models. The NSF notes that “the grand challenges of today – protecting human health; understanding the food, energy, water nexus; exploring the universe at all scales – will not be solved by one discipline alone. They require convergence: the merging of ideas, approaches and technologies from widely diverse fields of knowledge to stimulate innovation and discovery” (National Science Foundation, n.d.). Convergence concerns not only the deep integration of disciplinary ideas across domains, but also “the convergence of academic, government, and industry stakeholders to support scientific investigations and enable rapid translation of the resulting advances” (National Science Foundation, 2017).

To address these challenges, this full day workshop at the Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference (March 4-8, 2019) will focus on the need for convergence in higher education and approaches to track and measure convergence across multiple knowledge domains. Our goal is to explore models and frameworks of complexity in creatively addressing intractable challenges. Given the nature of knowledge generation in education, we are seeking learning analytics researchers and data, learning, and computer scientists to submit papers on convergence. We also encourage participation from university administrators, granting agencies, and corporate R&D representatives on the social and technological infrastructure that enables convergence to occur. We welcome papers that present conceptual and research insights into creativity, group meta-cognition, innovative knowledge practices (such as visualizations, models of idea development, approaches to correct maliciously false information, managing distractors from core mandates), and approaches to integrate interdisciplinary teams in collaboratively solving problems.

Outcomes
This is the first workshop in the learning analytics community to explore the attributes of multi-disciplinary approaches to solving complex societal challenges. As such, the intended outcomes of this workshop are to help develop the formation of both a shared research community and models of assessing effectiveness and impact of collaboration.

Specific outcomes of the workshop include addressing the following challenges:

– What are the challenges to convergence in education in different global regions?
– How does convergence relate to the LAK19 theme of broadening inclusion?
– How do new models of convergence in knowledge impact currently underrepresented populations?
– What is the technology infrastructure needed to manage the learning process across the full spectrum of learning?
– What types of skills are needed of educators in convergence education environment? How does the role of the educator change in the face of convergence?
– What types of mindsets and skills should learners develop in convergence education?
– How should academic programs be designed to assist in developing learner skills to function in multi-disciplinary teams in solving complex problems?

Important Dates:

Oct 29, 2018: Workshop calls for participation announced
Dec 3, 2018: Workshop papers submission deadline (use this template). Please email to gsiemens@gmail.com
Jan 4, 2019: Notifications sent out (early-bird registration deadline of 8th January)
Feb 5, 2019: Final version of papers due for Companion Proceedings