The past 20 years have seen the emergence of many new tools, products, media formats, and technologies meant to support learning, education, and training. In recent years, the use of technology to support the way people learn in school, on the job, and on their own has accelerated dramatically. These technologies include learning management systems, MOOCS, authoring tools, mobile learning environments, serious games, simulations, applications of virtual and augmented reality, learning record stores, open badges and micro-credentials, pedagogical agents enabled by artificial intelligence, online laboratories, and much more.

There is a significant engineering aspect to the development and deployment of these learning technologies that is supported by a portfolio of existing and planned standards, but that has yet to coalesce as an identified field of endeavor.

Learning Science research has generated many of these new technologies and explored their potential benefits. Experience and analysis in a wide range of operational environments will offer additional guidance about the capabilities and limitations of the underlying technologies; how to use them to accomplish instructional goals; and how to evaluate the effectiveness of both the technologies and the various pedagogical innovations they allow.

Motivated by the need to provide this guidance, ICICLE was established by leading organizations across the world.

“ICICLE expands the IEEE portfolio to include the emerging field of Learning Engineering. This timely Industry Connections activity will leverage many years of standards and technology development to create systematic approaches to learning system engineering and learning system design. These, in turn, will facilitate collaboration among system engineers, learning scientists, instructional designers and other learning professionals and ultimately result in better learning outcomes.”

— Dr. Robby Robson, IEEE Standards Association Standards Board



The goals of IEEE ICICLE, 2020-2021, are to:

  1. Represent the relationship between Learning Engineering and allied disciplines.
  2. Evangelize Learning Engineering as an emphasis in allied disciplines and explore the emergence of Learning Engineering as its own discipline.
  3. Convene Conferences/workshops/gatherings to cultivate a new IEEE community.


The goals of IEEE ICICLE, 2017-2019, were to:

  1. Organize and hold the International Conference on Learning Engineering.
  2. Publish the Proceedings of the International Conference on Learning Engineering. This will include papers and demonstrations presented at the conference as well as a forward serving as a white-paper introduction to the field of Learning Engineering.
  3. Identify (or if needed create) examples in the form of open-source reference code that learning engineers can use to understand and implement relevant standards.

ICICLE is an activity that began in December 2017 and will run through December 2021.

What has ICICLE accomplished?


Between 2017 and 2019, ICICLE formed eight Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as a collaborative resource to support the growth of Learning Engineering. These groups represented the range of activities with which a Learning Engineer may be involved including:

  • AI and Adaptive Technologies
  • Competencies, Curriculum, and Credentials
  • Corporate L&D
  • Data Governance and Privacy
  • Design for Learning
  • Learning Engineering Among the Professions
  • Learning Technology Data Standards
  • Maturity Standards for Learning Solutions & Tools
  • xAPI and Learning Analytics
  • XR for Learning and Performance Augmentation


The SIGs were provided with technical resources and were asked to contribute to what became ICICLE’s 2019 Conference on Learning Engineering. This inaugural event brought over 200 professionals from industry, academia, and government to discuss and debate the question: “What is Learning Engineering?”