LERG logo

Digital technologies are becoming key enablers to bring about learning and behavioural change relating to personal, societal, health, environmental and economic objectives. While used extensively in specific settings such as personal fitness and quality control, there are many opportunities in other spheres.

This multi-disciplinary research group combines industry-inspired practices with digital technologies and computing to create engaging learning experiences, understand human learning and knowledge transfer to facilitate behavioural change in a variety of contexts.

Drawing from related disciplines the Learning Engineering Research Group’s mission is to:

Bring together researchers from the cognitive, social, educational, and computational sciences and lead in merging science and data to design powerful learning experiences to enable behavioural change for personal and societal impact.

The collaborative and interdisciplinary approach of the Research Group combines technical, pedagogical, empirical, behavioural and design-based disciplines, contributing to a wide range of learning (formal, informal and nonformal) liberatory pedagogies, addressing injustice and transforming learning environments.

The core values underpinning our research ensure all learners develop the knowledge, skills, and agency needed to thrive and participate in a just and equitable society. The Learning Engineering Research Group was established by Dr Cornelia Connolly

Twitter: @LearnEngGroup 


Our particular focus is on collaborative engagement to include students, staff, and faculty with backgrounds in the area of the digital technology methodology such as computer science, education, AI, information systems, behavioural science and psychology, the learning sciences and more, or in the area of the digital technology practice.

Digital technologies for learning:

Digital technologies for improved health:

Digital technologies for sustainable nutrient management, agricultural science:

Digital technologies for business digital transformation:

The Learning Engineering Research Group collaborates with many and is affiliated with the following research centres:
HIVE lab

mhealth CDL

Project Title:  HomeHealth 
The project aims to make Clare Island a beacon for the delivery of digital healthcare and is investigating multiple ways to improve patient care. The digital health project aims to improve chronic disease management. 
Funder: Cisco, SFI, Cúram and HSE

Project Title: 
CodePlus is a Computer Science (CS) engagement project which focuses on addressing the gender imbalance in the field by engaging female students in CS activities in order to help them make more informed choices about studying CS courses and pursuing careers in the field.
Funder: SFI and Google 
Project Title:  SpaceShipEarth 
The goal of Spaceship Earth is to inspire, engage and educate teachers, students and the public about STEM through launching four high-altitude balloons from Ireland to the ‘Edge of Space’. The ability of high-altitude balloons to carry student projects & cameras to the “Edge of Space” into the stratosphere (~30,000m), allows reflection on the uniqueness of our blue planet - Spaceship Earth
Funder: SFI
In this project we aim to provide support to and evaluate how teachers embrace and explore citizen development and low-code and no-code integration.  
Funder: Microsoft
Project Title:  CS First
A teacher’s guide to mapping Google’s CS First to the school curriculum in Ireland, primary and post-primary. 

Funder: Google

This project aims to bridge the gap between formal and non-formal learning context and space. Funded by Rethink Ireland and the Innovate Together fund the project has been conceptualised, from the outset to support young people, teachers, school leaders and youth workers - with a shared focus on the quality of all young people’s learning.

Funder: Rethink Ireland


Worlikar, H., Doran, J., Connolly, C., and O’ Keeffe, D. (2024) MADRA the digital St Bernard dog: A proof of concept simulation of a quadruped robot first responder, International Journal of Healthcare Simulation - Advances in Theory & Practice Journal.

McHugh, S., Carroll, N. and Connolly, C. (2023) Low-Code and No-Code in Secondary Education - Empowering Teachers to Embed Citizen Development in Schools, Computers in the Schools,  https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2023.2256729

Connolly, C., Johnson, P., Johnson K., Fitzpatrick, M., O’Keeffe, D. (2023) A Stratospheric Mission – Design of a Conceptual Framework to bring Weather Balloons and STEM into the Classroom, Frontiers in Education. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feduc.2023.1145043/full

Porcenaluk, S., O’Neachtain, A. and Connolly, C. (2023) Reimagining a framework for teachers’ continuous professional development during curriculum reform, Irish Educational Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2023.2250765

Connolly, C., Hernon, O., Carr, P., Worlikar, H., McCabe., I., Doran, J., Walsh, J.C., Simpkin, A. and O’Keeffe, D.T. (2023) Embedding Artificial Intelligence in Professional Practice Education – the Home Health Project, an Exemplar for Change, Computers in the Schools, https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2023.2247393

Connolly, C. and Kirwan, C. (2023). Capacity for, Access to, and Participation in Computer Science Education in Ireland, University of Galway, Ireland. ‌https://doi.org/10.13025/bccm-2c38
Connolly, C., Walsh, J.C., Worlikar, H., Ryan, L., Murray, A., O’Connor, S., Kelly, J., Coleman, S., Vyas Vadhira, V., Newell, E., O’Keeffe, D.T. (2022) New frontiers of education using humanoid robots - a case study of patient centred innovation in digital health education, Irish Education Studies, 41(1), 107-115https://doi.org/

Pröbster, M., Velert Soto. M., Connolly., C. and Marsden, N. (2022) Avatar-based Virtual Reality and the Associated Gender Stereotypes in a University Environment European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 24(1), pp. 11 -24 https://doi.org/10.2478/eurodl-2022-0002

Connolly, C., Murray, C., Brady, B., MacRuairc, G. and Dolan P. (2022) New Actors and New Learning Spaces for New Times - A Framework for Schooling that extends beyond the School, Learning Environments Research https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-022-09432-y
O’Regan, C., Brady, B., and Connolly, C. (2022), Building Back Better – Using an ecological lens to argue for strengthening mesosystemic connections for young people in a post pandemic world, Child Care in Practice; https://doi.org/10.1080/13575279.2022.2084364

Kelly, O., Hall, T. and Connolly, C., (2022) PACE-IT: Designing blended learning for accounting education in the challenging context of a global pandemic; Accounting Education https://doi.org/10.1080/09639284.2022.2090851

Connolly, C., Rowan Byrne J., Odlum, E. (2022) The Trajectory of Computer Science Education Policy in Ireland: A Document Analysis Narrative, European Journal of Education, 365-379, https://doi.org/10.1111/EJED.12507

Worlikar, H., Vyas Vadhiraj, V., Murray, A., O’Connell, J.,  Connolly, C., Walsh, J.C., O’Keeffe D.T. (2021) Is it feasible to use a humanoid robot to promote hand hygiene adherence in a hospital setting?, Infection Prevention in Practice, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infpip.2021.100188 

Ó Grádaigh, S., Connolly, C., Mac Mahon, B., Agnew, A. and Poole, W. (2021) An investigation of emergency virtual observation (EVO) in initial teacher education, in Australia and Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic, Irish Educational Studies, 40(2), 303-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2021.1916561 

Hijón-Neira, R., Pérez-Marin, D., Pizarro, C.,and Connolly, C., (2020) "The Effects of a Visual Execution Environment and Makey Makey on Primary School Children Learning Introductory Programming Concepts" IEEE Access, 8, 217800-217815 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3041686

Lynch R, Mallon B and Connolly C. (2015) The Pedagogical Application of Alternate Reality Games: using Game-Based Learning to Revisit History. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 5(2), 18-38. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijgbl.2015040102

Connolly, C., Murphy, E. and Moore, S. (2008). Undergraduate Computing Students and Programming Anxiety – A Key in the Retention Debate? IEEE Transactions in Education, 51(4) https://doi.org/10.1109/TE.2008.917193

Connolly, C. (2002), “Scanning our Past from Ireland, The Transatlantic Cable” Proceedings of the IEEE History of Telecommunications, 90(4) https://doi.org/10.1109/JPROC.2002.1002531

Our research updates https://twitter.com/LearnEngGroup