WDARF Research Projects


As an institute that champions excellence in Continuing Education and Training, IAL undertakes research projects that examine the various aspects of adult learning and development. The data we gather and the results we analyse enable us to further the advancement of the CET sector in Singapore, and inform policy making and decisions.

  • Leveraging leadership to sustain the dynamic professional development and identities of preschool teachers: The case for Knowledge Building Community (KBC)

    Professor David Hung Wei Loong

    The research seeks to create a sustainable professional development (PD) model that embeds the design of collaboration, ownership of learning, and leadership into the professional development experiences of preschool teachers.  Building upon a Knowledge Building Community (KBC) could potentially support an informal, organically-evolving and self-sustaining network for professional development, while addressing the lack of sustained professional practices. The study hopes to address preschool teachers’ epistemic beliefs (i.e. beliefs about the ways in which people learn, the assumptions that learners hold about the nature of knowledge, and the process of knowledge acquisition) through the KBC which integrates ICT learning. 

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality Training Systems for the Elderly in Singapore

    Associate Professor Jung Younbo, Nanyang Technological University

    The project aims to address emerging challenges in an aging society by examining the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) learning programmes for elderly Singaporeans on building their confidence in living independently with dignity and respect. For instance, the newly developed learning programmes may help the elderly pick up new skills that are essential to live in a smart nation and applicable to find appropriate jobs to meet their physical and financial needs. The initial findings will help implement the project in real-life settings, in cooperation with government and welfare organisations so as to benefit the elderly, paving the way towards active ageing. 

    Project summary by PI here
  • Understanding and Promoting Work Skill Learning Among Lower-Income Employees

    Associate Professor Mark Pitesa, Singapore Management University

    The research seeks to understand how the learning of new work skills can be promoted amongst lower-income workers. It will also test novel, cost-effective, and scalable interventions that can help lower-income workers learn new work skills. The designed interventions will be implemented in local organisations through a randomised controlled trial to reveal which approaches produce the most benefit for low-income workers and their organisations. 

    Project summary by PI here
  • A Blended Learning Course through Academic Practice Partnership to Enhance Workplace Clinical Teaching and Learning

    Associate Professor Liaw Sok Ying, Alice Lee Centre of Nursing Studies at the National University of Singapore

    The research seeks to inform professional development of clinical nurses who are critical in facilitating nursing students’ learning at work in the clinical setting. The study will explore the experiences of clinical nurses and academic educators in supporting workplace clinical teaching and learning, and examine the effects of a blended learning course to enhance workplace clinical teaching and learning. The outcomes can therefore contribute to developing a successful partnership model of best practices between healthcare workplace and academic institutions.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Aligning the Polytechnic Provision of CET with SkillsFuture: Meeting Learners' and Employers' Needs

    Professor Stephen Billett (Griffith University) and Dr Anthony Leow, Republic Polytechnic

    Against the backdrop of the SkillsFuture national movement to promote skills mastery and lifelong learning, the research seeks to identify and address gaps in existing educational provisions and capacities of teachers in the post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs) for employability-related continuing education and training (CET) across the Singaporean workforce. It also investigates CET educators’ viewpoints and their teaching practices by examining (i) their perspectives regarding the facilitators and barriers to CET teaching and learning, and (ii) how their professional development in the CET terrain can be realised. By investigating the CET experience from aspects of both students and CET educators in the teaching-learning partnership, the study can potentially illuminate the personal, professional and organisational dimensions of the CET experience.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • An Investigation of Pedagogical Approaches in the Acquisition of Language for Low-Waged, Low-Skilled Adult Learners of English

    Dr Hong Huaqing (Jul’18 to Dec’20) / Prof Annabel SH Chen (Dec’20 to Mar’21)

    The Workplace Literacy (WPL) programme aims to equip low-wage and low-skilled workers with the essential English skills to enhance their employability and eligibility. This study gathers information on the design and delivery of the programme, and the needs and experiences of learners to inform programmatic and strategic changes. The data are collected through a survey questionnaire, some focus group discussions (FGD), interviews, and classroom observations.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Course Suggestion for Career Planning: Evaluating Strategies to Support Lifelong Learning. A Pilot on Using Analytics to Recommend SkillsFuture Credit Courses

    Prof Robert Kamei, Institute for Application of Learning Science & Educational Technology (ALSET) Dr Min-Yen Kan, NUS School of Computing

    Our study piloted the personalisation of SkillsFuture course recommendation, based on historical SkillsFuture reimbursement claims. We analysed the overall historical consumption patterns to whether the policies and goals of the SFC programme are being met. We successfully met our recommendation objectives, achieving a 10% performance increase in recommending relevant courses to target individuals, characterised both in simulation and further validated by a medium-scale human subject study.   

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Mastery in the Digital Age: Accelerating Effective Skills Development Through Social Learning and Workplace Environment Prototyping

    Mr Poon King Wang, Singapore University of Technology and Design

    This study examines what mastery means given the digital disruption and transformation of work through the lens of craftsmanship in the Energy & Chemical and Precision Engineering sectors. It focuses on both accelerating and deepening skills development, with particular emphasis on the role of social learning and workplace learning environments. This is achieved through an ethnographic study, including observations and interviews, of how digital technology impacts the work of technicians in both sectors, how this influences their sense of mastery and, subsequently, how social learning contributes to develop the skills necessary to thrive in digital working environments.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Establishing Work Readiness Benchmarks and Standards to Ensure Singapore International Competitiveness

    Professor Remus Ilies, National University of Singapore

    The objective of this study is to inform individuals, training organisations, and employers on what essential skills are required for success, and thus build, select, and promote work ready and likely successful individuals. Leveraging the Education and Skills Online (ESOL), an online computer adaptive programme that administers, scores and report adult competencies in cognitive skills, these essential skills will be benchmarked across a range of jobs within selected career clusters that are key to Singapore’s economic growth.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Regulatory Focus and SSG Career Development Course Use: A Brief Online Intervention

    Assistant Professor Jia Lile, Institute for the Application of Learning Science and Educational Technology (ALSET) at the National University of Singapore

    This project aims to enhance the impact and effectiveness of available career development resources and predict more accurately how individual citizens’ motivational styles predispose them to preferring certain kinds of resources over others. It will support the development of scalable online technologies that can help Singaporeans find, select, and benefit from SSG career development programmes and resources.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Work, Well-Being and Resilience: Understanding Singapore’s Mature Workforce

    Associate Professor Kang Soon Hock, Singapore University of Social Sciences

    This project seeks to investigate the factors that influence work-related decisions, lifelong learning decisions and activities, and the well-being of mature workers aged between 45 and 75. The outcomes include developing a corporate model in matching work motivators of the matured worker to the corporate structure that will enable the former to perform their jobs and maintain their employability, and as a resource to the policy agenda on the integration and retention of mature workers in the Singapore workforce.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Orchestration of Microlearning to Support Singapore's Workforce in their Lifelong Learning Journey: Learner, Design and Performance

    Prof Looi Chee Kit,

    The aim of this research project is to explore microlearning at the learner, course design and system levels.  The goals are two-fold: (i) provide empirical findings with Singapore as the context of study, and (ii) catalyze more research on microlearning in Singapore. The research will produce empirical knowledge and will be useful to inform the policy, design and implementation of microlearning.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Socio-materials that Matter for Traversing the Boundaries of School and Work

    Dr Chue Shien

    In this research, we explore professional learning of undergraduate interns from a socio-material perspective as they traverse the boundaries from school to work and unpacks the entanglements of learning at the workplace. To understand what interns are experiencing at the workplace, we interviewed more than 100 local undergraduates from engineering, accountancy, marketing, media production, advertising, as well as public relations agencies and other communications related firms. Additionally, we conducted 66 in-depth interviews with workplace supervisors and faculty members to understand more clearly how internship learning is enabled and supported.  

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Workplace learning in disruptive innovators: A knowledge management perspective

    Assoc. Prof. Alton Chua

    The purpose of this proposed research is to study workplace learning in disruptive innovators in Singapore through a knowledge management perspective.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • From classroom training to workplace practice: Understanding workers' learning motivation, skill acquisition and skill utilisation in the context of Continuing Education and Training (CET)

    Dr Lee Ai Noi, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University

    Continuous education and training (CET) opportunities available to workers is crucial to ensure a relevant and resilient workforce. Using a three-time point design of data collection, this study aims to examine the influence of individual and workplace situational factors on workers’ learning motivation, skill acquisition and skill utilisation before and after completion of a CET course; and whether a more structured workplace learning context can increase the likelihood of individual skill utilisation.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Development and Evaluation of Building Resilience@Work Training among Healthcare Workers

    Associate Professor Lau Ying, Alice Lee Centre of Nursing Studies at the National University of Singapore

    This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-paced training programme (that includes six online sessions, self-monitoring, homework, peer and therapist supports) on resilience, job engagement, intention to leave, employability, and work performance. This study also seeks to explore healthcare workers’ experience of the training programme.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Empowering Singaporean Workers to Transition, and Map Careers Better in the Future of Work through Open Loop Careers

    Poon King Wang, Chng Samuel and Willems Thijs

    The project is aimed at measuring changes in career circumstances and attitudes over time (12 months), as well as qualitative interviews which glean deeper insights on Singaporean workers' personal experiences. 


    Project Summary by PI here
  • Identifying the motivational tipping point for lifelong learning: One size does not fit all

    Dr Cheong Kang Hao

    This project broadly aims to apply an opinion dynamics model in the context of adult education. Specifically, it aims to apply an opinion dynamics model to explore motivation and structural factors for taking up lifelong learning courses in Singapore.

    Project Summary by PI
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of digital-game-based learning for professional upskilling

    Associate Professor Goh Yang Miang, National University of Singapore

    This study examines the effectiveness of digital game-based learning (DGBL) through empirical testing of a theoretical authentic learning environment (ALE) model building on a model previously developed by the research team that comprises three factors (task authenticity, knowledge co-construction, and expert modelling) for achievement of surface learning (i.e. knowledge retention) and deep learning (application, re-contextualisation, and innovation). The outcome of the research will be a toolkit for evaluating DGBL and a protocol of designing, fitting and evaluating DGBL for professional upskilling.

    Project Summary by PI here
  • Enhancing Adult Learning Using a Mobile Micro-Learning Platform With Integrated Nudging Interventions: A Design-Based Research Approach

    Associate Professor Oh Lih Bin, National University of Singapore

    The proposal seeks to provide insights into the design of educational technologies that can trigger automatic cognitive processes for adult learners.  First, adult learner archetypes will be developed by drawing on adult learning theories and literature. Following this, integrated nudging interventions will be designed based on cognitive load theory and nudge theory. Next, the study will validate the effects of tailoring nudging interventions to adult learner archetypes and also assess the impact of the platform on learning outcomes. 

    Project Summary by PI here