UC embarks on $1.2m research project to enhance learning in cultural institutions

UC embarks on $1.2m research project to enhance learning in cultural institutions

Claudia Doman

2 July 2012: A University of Canberra led project to guide the application of technology interaction in informal learning environments, such as galleries or museums, has won a prestigious research grant.

A group of researchers led by Professor in Service Management Byron Keating has been awarded a $225,000 linkage project grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC), to better understand how location-based technologies can enhance learning in cultural institutions. The grant was announced today by Science and Research Minister Senator Chris Evans.

In total, the project will receive funding for over $1.2 million - including cash contributions of $470,000 (ARC: $225,000, Industry: $245,000) and in-kind contributions from the participating universities and industry partners of almost $740,000 over the life of the project.

“In this project we aim to develop a stronger theoretical framework to help institutions better use location-based technology in a range of learning environments,” Professor Keating said.

Location-based technologies use knowledge about where a user – someone with a mobile device such as a smartphone or an iPad – is located, in order to provide a more interactive experience.

“A lot of institutions have fantastic information immersive technology but we are looking at helping them use it, in the best possible way in the learning environment,” he added.

Byron Keating

Byron Keating is leading the research project into location-based technologies that has just received a prestigious grant. Photo: Michelle McAulay

Three of Australia’s leading cultural institutions: National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Australia and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre will partner in the University’s project.

The project is a cross-disciplinary approach to research drawing on the collaborators’ expertise in service management, education and technology. It also reflects an emerging research strength in the area of systems innovation -- which capitalizes on core strengths in the areas of service systems, information systems, and education systems.

“The project will also benefit of the recent investment in the University of Canberra’s INSPIRE -- an initiative intended to drive high quality research into the potential of Information and Communications Technology to transform education.”

Professor Keating’s colleagues in the project include University of Canberra Professor of Education Robert Fitzgerald and Professor in Information Systems John Campbell and the Australian National University’s Professor Shirley Gregor.

The grant also included the only ARC Linkage Industry Fellowship, which will allow the project’s lead investigator to work with the industry partners for a day a week over the life of the project.

“This is a very prestigious fellowship - the first given in the last three ARC Linkage Project rounds, and only the 17th given since the program commenced in 2003,” Professor Keating said.

Last year Professor Keating was also successful in securing a $255,000 ARC ‘Discovery’ grant to lead a project aiming to improve IT outsourcing decisions to enhance performance and provide a greater competitive advantage.