LINCS will support Canada's transformation into a learning society by creating
a network for research and development on technology-based lifelong learning.
The technological focus is the provision of universal access to collaborative,
networked learning environments based on interactive simulations.
New technologies are only part of the profound socio-economic change Canada now
faces. LINCS reconciles the move toward an information-based economy with the
learning needs of our resource-based economy. Competitive national economies
require people and institutions that are highly adaptive and responsive to
change. This will occur only where new knowledge is widely accessible through
learning technologies that encourage active engagement in lifelong learning.
LINCS targets five major socio-economic areas:
LINCS has partnerships with Canadian industries at the leading edge of
technology creation and use. These partnerships will enable systematic
knowledge transfer from research to applications in industry, homes and
schools. This effective use of high technology to enhance the value of natural
and manufacturing resources supplied to world markets is essential to Canada's
future economic prosperity and social progress.
Changes in the human resource needs of Canadian employers require new ways of
training and retraining to insure work force adaptability. LINCS responds to
this requirement by using high speed networks to combine the power of
computerised simulations with the motivation of social learning environments.
Partnership with Human Resources and Development Canada insures that the
benefits of LINCS are widely shared through employee training and retraining
programs as part of a new societal understanding of the importance of lifelong
New technologies will significantly improve national access to art and cultural
materials as well as cultural learning resources. The LINCS partnership
includes cultural institutions and producers who are developing interactive
content for distribution over networks (for example, museums, publishers and
audio visual producers). These same resources will enrich Canada's tourism and
leisure industries. It is also vital that the rich artistic expression of our
multicultural society be available to people of all regions to promote deeper
understanding of self and others. Providing access to such cultural resources
will be an important contribution of LINCS.
LINCS has partnerships with institutions across Canada involved in
international development. Providing developing nations with learning resources
is a cost-effective and productive form of international development.
Technologies for lifelong learning developed in Canada will have immediate
application to the cost-effective supply of learning resources overseas.
The methods, materials, and techniques developed in the context of LINCS
research on technology-based learning will have potential for commercialisation
by Canadian companies and for the creation of new companies. This will lead to
economic benefits in the form of import substitution and exports facilitated by
LINCS partnerships with a range of existing high technology companies. The
involvement of management researchers specialising in new venture development
will assist in making opportunities available to entrepreneurs.
Major new commercial opportunities are arising as Canada's service,
manufacturing and resource industries become increasingly involved in training
others in related activities world-wide. LINCS will provide a powerful
infrastructure for the expansion of Canadian learning industries.
The schematic of the LINCS research program below portrays the overall aim of
facilitating lifelong learning through:
Universal access to information does not in itself create a learning society.
While the information highway is widely recognised as a critical enabling
technology for the new economy, at present it offers only widespread access to
high-speed communication and information retrieval.
- close collaboration with strategic government, education and industry
- selected in-depth projects applying new learning technologies to problems
identified by industry and government,
- multi-disciplinary teams of technology, methodology, content and
- replication at nationally dispersed sites for intensive field trials and
- transfer of advanced learning techniques from research to industry, homes
Currently, the information highway supports many electronic discussion groups
and document archives, but these address the learning needs of only a small
segment of our society. Technologies for interaction, collaboration, simulation
and tele-presence are necessary to create the social and experiential
conditions that will allow us to realise the full learning potential of the
Current approaches to technology-based learning are largely designed for local
delivery and focused on individual learning. LINCS is predicated on the need
for a basic re-evaluation of these aspects of the educational system.
Interactive computer simulations have proven to be powerful motivators and
provide dynamic and exploratory learning environments. The use of networked
group interaction software creates interactive distance learning environments
that are sensitive to the lifelong learning needs of both employers and
employees. LINCS research will examine the feasibility and utility of these
LINCS will model the transition to lifelong learning through test cases in a
wide variety of contexts, from training for high-risk environments to cultural
learning in homes and schools.
Space station training is based upon state of the art simulations and will be
used to provide data on training in the use of high technology through
computer-based simulation. Groupware business simulations will provide data on
experiential learning of entrepreneurial and management skills. The
manufacturing and construction industries will be prototypes for modelling the
continuously changing skill requirements that require lifelong access to
Simulation and groupware training will be used to provide opportunities for
cultural learning through interactive computers in science centres and museums
in cooperation with LINCS partners in the cultural sector. These will be
extended through networking to schools and homes to test the efficacy of
technologically-supported home-based learning. LINCS will also explore the
potential for using networked delivery of learning materials to developing
In-depth studies will be associated with specific research questions such as:
These and other research questions that emerge will be explored in the context
of the integrative themes within LINCS: systemic, focussing on an overall model
of a next-generation educational system; horizontal, using the basic
technologies for networking, collaboration and simulation; and vertical, using
the same content in diverse application sectors. These themes integrate the
range of research activities into a coherent program of socio-economic
Networking approaches have intrinsic and obvious values for all major research
activities; in research on education and training they are mandatory. The size
and scope of the educational system, the ever-changing demands for training,
and the diversity of both problem areas and methods of inquiry are beyond the
bounds of any one discipline or institution.
- How can virtual reality technologies be used to create dynamic learning
- How can retention and speed of learning be evaluated in such environments?
- What are the optimal methods for encoding, storing and transmitting the
range of data types involved in multimedia simulation?
- Can new forms of interaction be used to enhance attention and offer
improved learning access to those with disabilities?
- How can network access, navigation, authoring and distribution be made
`user-friendly' for non-technical users?
- What are the dynamics of the development of learning materials by
distributed teams cooperating across the network?
- What is the potential for sharing learning resources across the
Some of the traditional approaches to the management of education have led to
inefficiencies and rigidity that make it increasingly difficult to respond to
the needs of a changing society. The aims and objectives of LINCS can only be
achieved by a wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary, cross-sector network. The
importance of this project will be not only in its specific research
achievements but also in its contribution to educational reform.
Major research deliverable
The major research deliverable will be a working prototype of a learning layer
built on the information highway that will support:
LINCS is a matrix of diverse research networks organized by areas of benefit.
The other organising elements are: technology (modes of transmission, network
security, groupware, simulation, virtual reality), learning (instructional
design, collaborative and experiential learning and evaluation methods), and
application environments (high risk, high technology training, arts and
culture, distance education).
- development of dynamic learning materials by distributed teams responsive
to changing national needs,
- delivery of learning materials through interactive, multimedia learning
environments supporting cooperation and simulation,
- universal access to a user-friendly lifelong learning environment, and
- institutional, industrial and government infrastructures with the
experience to develop significant large-scale applications.
LINCS will have a profound impact on Canada's human resources. It will not only
produce world class scientists and engineers, but will also provide improved
methods of training and retraining for a wide range of workers. Finally, it
will produce innovative educational resources for industries, homes and
schools. LINCS will contribute at every level to improving Canada's industrial
competitiveness, economic growth and productivity.
- New technology mobilisation--new technology in training and training in
- Canadian Space Agency--space station training, advanced simulation,
- Department of National Defence--Human Performance, Directorate of
- Ontario Hydro--nuclear industry training, international training, advanced
- TransCanada Pipelines & Nova Corporation--petrochemical plant
training, international training
- C-CORE--CIRUS research network on the industrial use of space, extreme
- School of Architecture--Landscape Research, Cooperative Research
Initiatives, IT Design
- McLeod Institutes--advanced simulation technologies, high-performance
graphics, virtual reality
- Employment--lifelong learning providing universal access to education
- HRDC--training policy, delivery, field trials, impact assessment
- Alberta Construction Safety Association--high-risk environment training,
- Université Laval & York University--knowledge-on-demand,
- Centre for the Study of Computers in Education--evaluation methodologies
- Cognitive Re-Regulation Program--biofeedback for focus training
- TLRN--instructional design, multimedia development, evaluation
- Cultural understanding--universal access to multicultural experience
and cultural heritage
- Science World--CANARIE-funded `virtual science centre', network of Science
- CITI-- current projects include nViews, Televillage, ExCite Centre, Music
Library of the Future
- Cultech (Intercom) & CultureNet--networked research and distribution
of cultural resources
- Banff Centre-- linking technological research with cultural knowledge and
- Undersea Research--business, home and school ocean, environmental and
- McLuhan Program-- interdisciplinary research in culture and technology
- Rogers Communication Centre--future mass communications policy and
- International development--policy, content, delivery relevant to
international aid and development
- International Centre--coordination of international relations,
requirements, delivery, evaluation
- Statistics Canada-- international marketing opportunities for export of
- Knowledge Science Institute--international and technology socio-economic
modeling and impact
- New Ventures Group--business training materials, commercialization and new
- Commercialization--technology providers, industry laboratories, product
- University Technologies International--licencing, contracts, technology
- WurcNet & CA*net--high-speed network provision, cross-industry
- First Class Systems--software training, network security
- TRLabs--telelearning technologies, personnel development
- Smart Technologies--groupware communication and coordination
- Western International Communications--broadband cellular digital
- ARC--learning and manufacturing technologies, product refinement,
Initially, LINCS will include some 200 university and industrial researchers,
post doctoral fellows, graduate students and technical and professional staff.
Over a ten year time frame, this will increase to over 400.
Several LINCS partners have specific training objectives for highly qualified
personnel. For example, the Canadian Space Agency is responsible for Mobile
Servicing System Training for the international space station. Others, like
Nova Corporation and Ontario Hydro, are engaged in major international
commercial training activities. Still others (CultureNet, CulTech, Science
World, CITI) will prepare specialists in the development and delivery of
cultural materials. LINCS will develop a body of research and produce personnel
that will strengthen Canada's role as a leading exporter of training
Commercialization and new venture marketing groups in the LINCS matrix of
networks will ensure a coordinated multi-sector approach in the development of
human resources. Those individuals receiving training in new and emerging
technologies will obtain experience through industry internships, exchange
programs, and applied research opportunities.
This multi-disciplinary approach to research and development in
technology-based learning will create a community of innovative leaders in
education and training, which will facilitate fundamental change in Canada's
LINCS will generate new technologies for lifelong learning and will produce
technology-based learning materials for a wide range of specific applications.
Since LINCS industrial partners constitute a formidable segment of Canada's
technology training sector, they are well positioned to take advantage of the
international market potential of technologies for networked collaboration and
LINCS will also have a major impact in terms of import substitution. The
technologies involved are essential to the socio-economic future of Canada, but
it has previously been necessary to import them. The LINCS program offers the
opportunity for domestic development, control and marketing of the primary
technologies for lifelong learning.
LINCS will amplify the impact of its research findings by using networked
collaboration and simulation technology to support widespread participation in
its projects. LINCS will make its findings available through list servers and
electronic document archives, and through conferences, workshops, reports and
publications. It is intended that these communication channels will remain in
place when the project is completed to continue to promote research,
development and application of technology-based learning.
LINCS includes partners with extensive expertise in technology transfer
(University Technologies International) and network security (First Class
Systems) who will provide guidance in cases involving proprietary information.
The New Ventures Group and UTI have extensive experience in the development of
capital investment for new technology ventures. LINCS partners have been
selected as Centres of Excellence with extensive funding for research,
development and application of technology-based learning. All have direct and
continuing commitments to the investment of their time and money in projects
related to the aims of LINCS.
LINCS has three major management functions: managing program goals, managing
program coordination, and managing specific projects.
A Board of Directors representing government, industry and users' interests
will have authority over program goals, project and budget authorization.
Projects will be managed by designated Leaders responsible for intellectual
leadership, schedules, budgets and progress reports.
The coordination of project involvement across partners will be managed on a
matrix basis through a Coordinator at each involved centre, who will be
responsible both for resourcing projects and for managing the centre's
interests in the project.
The overall Program Leader will manage liaison between the Board of Directors,
the Coordination Board and individual Projects, and be responsible for overall
schedules, budgets, and progress reporting.
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