PhD Fellowship in Supporting teaching and learning in Technology-Enhanced Learning Spaces

Catholic University of Leuven

Since November 2020 Dr. Annelies Raes is Chair Holder on Technology-Enhanced Learning Spaces. This Chair is funded by I-SITE ULNE (made possible by the French government through the Programme Investissement d’Avenir I-SITE ULNE / ANR-16-IDEX-0004 ULNE managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche). The chair is a partnership between Université de Lille and KU Leuven, Belgium and more particularly between the research groups CIREL ( ) and Itec, imec research group at KU Leuven ( Founded in 2008, CIREL is currently one of the most important educational research units in France and in the Euroregion. It has progressively become a reference in the field of education and training sciences in its own fields of specialisation, in particular regarding work related to research in computer environments for human learning. Itec is a research group of KU Leuven and imec, Flanders’ high-tech research and innovation hub for nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The research group conducts interdisciplinary research on the design, development, and evaluation of personalized and adaptive digital solutions, with applications mostly in the domain of technology-enhanced education and training, but also in media and in health. The Joint PhD will be situated within the context of the Chair Technology-Enhanced Learning Spaces ( and the candidate will also be involved in the current research project funded by imec on Supporting Teamwork in Ambient Learning Spaces (see As Associate Research Directors of the Chair on Technology-Enhanced Learning Spaces (TELS) Prof. dr. Jean Heutte from CIREL, ULille and Prof. dr. Fien Depaepe from itec, KU Leuven and will be, together with Dr. Annelies Raes, part of the supervising team of the PhD project.


The main objective of joint PhD project is to conduct innovative research on the use of multimodal teaching and learning analytics, also called “classroom analytics” to contribute to the development of optimal learning environments. Informed by theoretical frameworks (e.g. autothetic experience (Csikszentmihalyi), Social Facilitation Theory (Triplett) and Social-Cognitive Theory (Bandura)), and instructional design principles (e.g. Productive Failure (Kapur), and the activity-centred analysis and design (ACAD) framework (Goodyear, Carvalho & Yeoman), the joint PhD aims to get insight into effective teaching and learning. Data collection will be conducted in highly ecologically valid contexts (i.e. the new learning spaces within Lille Learning Lab and within Leuven Learning Lab) and will include both quantitative and qualitative measures. We aim to go beyond current work by defining and assessing quality of teaching and learning in terms of measurable multimodal indicators based on behavior, log data, eye tracking data, audiovisual data and sensor data from activities within the learning spaces.

This means that we will not only focus on leaning analytics, aimed to model the skills developed by the learners using educational software. 

It has been stressed in the current educational literature (e.g. Martinez-Maldonado et al., 2021; Prieto et al., 2016) that we should broaden the scope of analytics, modelling not only the learners interactions with the digital tool, but anything that may happen in this specific ecosystem called a classroom or learning space. The joint PhD will meet the current gap in literature and expand towards teaching analytics or classroom analytics including eye-tracking, EEG, accelerometer, audio and video.

References :

  • Heutte, J. (2017). Motivations, volition et expérience du flow : quelques références théoriques pour l’étude des communautés d’apprenance. Dans O. Las Vergnas (dir.), Le e-learning informel ? Des apprentissages diffus, noyés dans la participation en ligne (p. 199-214). Paris, France : Archives contemporaines. 
  • Heutte J. (2021). L’expérience autotélique dans les EIAH : genèse socio-historique, épistémologique et critique de l’émergence des technologies positives pour l’apprentissage. STICEF (Sciences et Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication pour l'Éducation et la Formation), 27, 14-82.
  • Martinez-Maldonado, R., Yan, L., Deppeler, J., Phillips, M., and Gašević, D. (2021). Classroom Analytics: Telling Stories about Learning Spaces using Sensor Data. In E. Gil, Y. Mor, Y. Dimitriadis & C. Köppe (Eds.), Hybrid Learning Spaces. Cham, Switzerland: Springer (to appear).
  • Prieto, L. P., Sharma, K., Dillenbourg, P. & Jesús, M. (2016). Teaching analytics: towards automatic extraction of orchestration graphs using wearable sensors. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK '16). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 148–157. 
  • Raes, A., & Depaepe, F. (2020). A longitudinal study to understand students’ acceptance of technological reform. When experiences exceed expectations. Education and Information Technologies, 25 (1), 533-552. doi: 10.1007/s10639-019-09975-3 Open Access
  • Raes, A., Vanneste P., Pieters, M., Windey, I., Van Den Noortgate, W. & Depaepe, F. (2020). Learning and instruction in the hybrid virtual classroom: An investigation of students’ engagement and the effect of quizzes. Computers & Education. 
  • Tan, S., Wiebrands, M., O'Halloran, K, & Wignell, P. (2020). Analysing student engagement with 360-degree videos through multimodal data analytics and user annotations. Technology Pedagogy and Education. 


We are looking for candidates who

  • have a Master's degree (e.g., in Educational Sciences, Psychology, Statistics, or Computer sciences);
  • have a special interest in the use of technology and ICT in education and training, and in the use of statistical and computer sciences’ techniques;
  • have distinguished themselves during their study career;
  • are creative and result-oriented;
  • are able to work both independently and in an international team;
  • have a very good command of English (oral and written), and preferably also of Dutch and French.


The study will lead to a double PhD degree: the degree of PhD in Educational Sciences from the KU Leuven, and the degree of PhD in Educational Sciences from CIREL, ULille. As a PhD student, you will have every opportunity to develop yourself further in your professional career, by studying literature, attend seminars and workshops, participate in international conferences and interact with leading researchers from multiple disciplines. This position offers flexibility and the opportunity to work with enthusiastic teams in stimulating multicultural environments. In addition, you will become part of (and contribute to) a network of academic and non-academic partners in the flourishing market of educational technology. Your research will contribute to fast developments in education and learning that have a high societal impact.
We offer a full-time appointment at ULille (initially for 1 year, but conditional on a positive evaluation extended to 4 years). During the first year, your workplace is primarily located at the KU Leuven campus Kulak in Kortrijk; in the following years, you will work (approximately evenly) at the KU Leuven campus in Kortrijk and at CIREL, ULille. Conditions will be negotiated and could be arranged depending on the context and on the progress in the thesis.
In addition to a competitive salary, ULille  offers a number of additional advantages, such as the possibility of flexible working, hospitalization insurance, reimbursement for commuting by public transport, inexpensive meals, etc.
The candidate can start from July 2021 onwards (and not later than September 2021).


For more informationplease contact , and

Candidates will be selected and invited for an interview which will be organised in June2021.

You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Kortrijk
  • Apply before: May 31, 2021
  • Tags: Pedagogische wetenschappen