LDL Research, Teaching, and Outreach


The LDL program hosts the Cyber-social Research Laboratory. The principal interests of the laboratory are digital literacies, multiliteracies, learner diversity, e-learning ecologies, learning analytics, and artificial intelligence—and most recently, the application of Generative AI in education. With a strong emphasis on collaborative research, the laboratory has a track record of attracting substantial externally funded research, including from the Institute of Educational Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and private philanthropies.

The University of Illinois has a stellar tradition of development and application of educational technologies, including the PLATO platform, the world’s first e-learning system (1959), and the first web browser, Mosaic, rapidly applied by College of Education researchers to teaching and learning (1993). With the support of substantial external research funding, the Cyber-social Research Laboratory has since 2009 developed a suite of e-learning and artificial intelligence apps in the CGScholar platform, today hosting approximately 350,000 accounts.

LDL Connects 2022 (in-person gathering)


Learning Design and Leadership is a graduate degree program, offering both fully online and blended on-campus courses at the doctoral (PhD and EdD), masters (EdM) and graduate certificate level. The predecessor program to LDL was the world’s first fully online graduate degree (1998), celebrating this year a quarter of a century of innovation in teaching and learning. Currently (Fall 2023) the program has enrolled 159 EdD, 9 PhD, and 42 EdM students. Since the online EdD launched in Fall 2017, we have awarded 40 doctoral degrees.

Public Advocacy and Community Outreach

The LDL program has developed a series of popular MOOC offerings, reaching over 150,000 course participants in recent years. The program is committed to intervening in critical public discussions in education, ranging from a vigorous program of scholarly publication to a strong social media presence.


For further information, contact the program leader, Dr Bill Cope <billcope@illinois.edu>