Dutton's Learning Design Team is available to collaborate with EMS faculty to promote and execute high impact empirical research in teaching and learning. Whether you are developing a new research study or enlisting some help to understand data, partnering with Dutton's Learning Design Team provides you with expert support. The team has a broad range of experiences in educational research, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research methodologies. Additionally, Dutton's Learning Design Team is well versed in learning theory, instructional design theory, and online pedagogical practices. 


Our Research Vision

To be a leader in research on teaching and learning by promoting new, scholarly, evidence-based research. 


Our Research Mission 

The John A. Dutton e-Education Institute is the College of Earth Mineral and Sciences hub for the study and application of learning pedagogy, technology, and best practices. In support of research, Dutton's Learning Design Team: 

  • Provides support for both original research and dissemination of results 
  • Develops a corpus of literature that supports best practices for teaching and learning 
  • Informs, empowers, and supports the faculty of the college in the delivery of courses, certificates, and programs 
  • Provides innovative pedagogical approaches that can be leveraged in EMS’s courses


Partnering with us

There are two ways to work with us. First, is to respond to one of the Requests for Partner (RFP) emails that we send out periodically throughout the year to solicit partners for larger studies that involve multiple courses or programs. The details will be included in any RFPs that are announced. The second option is for you to contact us if you'd like to partner with us. Our general procedure is detailed below along with how we can help. 

You can contact our research coordinator (April Millet, 814-863-8718,, and we will schedule an initial meeting with you. For that meeting, we ask that you be prepared to tell us what you would like to do and what role you would like our team to play. If you want to propose a new research study, but don't have a concrete idea of what that study would look like, we are more than happy to discuss your research interests and propose research options. 

If you're looking for assistance with a research study, we are more than willing to help:

  • Conduct a literature review
  • Walk you through IRB requirements
  • Prepare, review, and submit an IRB
  • Design the study, including methods of data collection and analysis
  • Prepare additional documents (i.e. consent form, surveys, research questions) needed for IRB approval
  • Communicate with Penn State's IRB office
  • After your IRB is approved, we will help you:
  • Collect data
  • Analyze data
  • Write executive reports, publications, and conference presentations 
  • Present findings 

Dutton Research Institute Concept Map

Current Research Partnerships

List of current research efforts with abstract of the research efforts and any citations that come of the partnership (i.e. conference proposals, publications, etc.) 


Research Project (IRB#) 

Faculty/LD partner info

Abstract of research  project

Publications and Conferences list related to the research

Any links we can add to the work


Call For Partners

Title and links to PDFs of call for partner document

List of partners

Publications and Conferences list related to the research

Any links we can add to the work



Potential outlets for scholarly work:

American Journal of Distance Education

The Journal of Distance Education

Distance Education

Online Journal of Distance Education and e-Learning

Internet and Higher Education

Electronic Journal of E-Learning

Online Learning Consortium


Additional resources:

Penn State IRB Information

CITI Program at Penn State


Core Members: 

April Millet, Assistant Teaching Professor and Learning Designer, Research Coordinator

Nate Turcotte, Ph.D. Candidate Learning, Design, and Technology, Research Support

Clayton Whittle, Ph.D. Student Learning, Design, and Technology, Research Support