Research Projects

The central objective of the CORE Research Programme, an NIE flagship study that actively examines the nature of teaching and learning, is to provide systematic documentation of curriculum initiatives and reforms, pedagogical practices and student learning in a representative sample of Singapore primary and secondary schools. 

The CORE research programme was born in 2004 after the establishment of CRPP and has been providing policymakers and researchers timely and evidence-based baseline descriptions and evaluations on the state of pedagogical practices across different subject-domains in Singapore schools and AST professional development (PD) programmes; and resource development (e.g., informing the development of Teaching and Learning Guides). The findings have also resulted in publications in top journals. 

Over the years, CORE has involved over 50 researchers from NIE’s research centres (RCs), Academic Groups (AGs), MOE and international universities. The inter-AGs/RCs/MOE research team has also clinched the  prestigious NIE NEXUS Award 2022 (Team) for the wonderful collaborative  working relationships built over the years with the AGs and MOE. 

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr Dennis Kwek (CRPP, NIE)
Co-Lead Principal Investigator: Dr Wong Hwei Ming (CRPP, NIE)

Principal Investigators (Panel 1 to 3): 
Dr Sun Baoqi (CRCD, NIE), Dr Dennis Kwek (CRPP, NIE), Dr Wong Hwei Ming (CRPP, NIE)

Co-Principal Investigators (Panel 1 to 3): 
Dr Melvin Chan (CRPP, NIE), A/P Nie Youyan (PCHD AG, NIE), Dr Goh Hock Huan (CRPP, NIE), A/P Kelvin Tan (LSA, NIE), Dr Tay Hui Yong (LSA, NIE)

Collaborators (Panel 3):
Dr Sim Seok Hwa (CPDD, MOE), Ms Lee Wei Hui (CPDD, MOE), Mdm Salha Mohamed Hussain (CPDD, MOE), Mdm S Seethalaksmy (CPDD, MOE), A/P Tan Chee Lay (ALC, NIE), Dr Cheong Yun Yee (ALC, NIE), A/P Mohd Mukhlis Bin Abu Bakar (ALC, NIE), A/P Seetha Lakshmi (ALC, NIE)

Employing a life course approach and sociological lens, the project investigates the school-to-work transitions of three cohorts of Institute of Technical Education (ITE) participants, examining their educational and career trajectories, transitional decision-making, challenges and successes. The narratives of the youths capture their negotiation of conditions and constraints, expectations and aspirations, definitions of success and also the long-term impact of decisions. In light of recent public discussions on the hierarchy of skills and the wage gap between ITE graduates and other higher education graduates, the project offers significant implications for educational and career guidance, institutional and policy planning. It presents evidence suggesting that supporting individual learners to fulfil their potential requires systemic issues such as the repositioning of academic studies and technical studies in the educational system to be addressed.

The study findings have been shared at different stages of the project with stakeholders such as ITE leadership and MENDAKI, and at conferences. The study findings will be further shared in an upcoming book as well as in a commentary by Dr Teng in an issue of Karyawan, a regular publication of the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA) distributed to leaders of both national and community organisations and professionals.

Principal Investigator:
Dr Teng Siao See (CRPP, NIE) 

Co-Principal Investigators:
Dr Mardiana Abu Bakar (NIE); Dr Heidi Layne (University of Jyväskylä); Dr Dennis Kwek (CRPP, NIE)

The focus of this study is in-situ professional development (PD) — to investigate how PD experiences can be designed to be more contextualised and embedded in practice. Findings unpack one case of in-situ PD to understand how teachers learn — its impact, process, enablers and mitigates. The in-situ PD context involved experienced teachers demonstrating practices and other teachers observing, discussing, and reflecting on practice in their classrooms. The model is impactful because it: (i) supports teachers’ refection, sharing, and learning with colleagues; (ii) enables teachers to form theory-practice nexus; (iii) creates teachers’ awareness of new strategies and helps them to adapt practices for students’ needs; (iv) motivates teachers to adapt and trial practices; and (v) affirms teachers’ beliefs and practices of good teaching. In terms of process, the model is guided by principles of adult learning, and involved demonstration of teaching practices. Thus, the model allowed teachers to see and reflect on practices in their classrooms, included extended support to sustain teachers’ learning, and differentiated PD approaches to meet diverse teachers’ needs and reduce teachers’ resistance to trial strategies. The alignment of professional learning content with teachers’ school contexts and their individual factors such as their dispositions and designations in schools enabled teachers’ professional learning. 

The findings have direct impact on policy and practice due to the make-up of the research team, which involved diverse stakeholders from multiple agencies. The project aligns with their research interests as well as their professional roles and responsibilities. Thus, members can leverage on their spheres of influence and tap on the findings to enable evidence-informed practices. Direct relevance of the project  and findings to policy interests and directives is another key factor.

Principal Investigator:
Dr Lee Shu Shing (CRPP, NIE)

Co-Principal Investigators:
Dr Tay Lee Yong (CRPP, NIE);  Dr Jeanne Ho (ELIS/AST); Dr Alexius Chia (OTE, NIE); Dr Lim Seok Lai (OTE, NIE); Dr Chang Qizhong (ELL, NIE); Dr Goh Sao Ee (OER, NIE)

Chew Chong Kiat, Yap Boon Chien (Master Teachers/AST)


The Socially Responsible Behaviour through Embodied Thinking (SORBET) Project was initiated when a group of Mathematics teachers in a Professional Learning Community at the Academy of Singapore Teachers approached Dr Kenneth Lim’s team at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Lim’s  team took advantage of the affordances of hybrid learning environments to  design and develop an immersive environment, which has since been used by teachers at both primary and secondary levels in subjects as diverse as Social Studies and Mathematics. Results published in the Gold Open Access journal Computers and Education Open in 2021 show that the SORBET Project can result in dispositional change among learners with regard to acting in socially responsible ways in which the good of the community is valued. The project is ongoing and  welcomes teachers to participate. It has been used as a case study by Masters students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, been featured by the  Singapore Press Holdings in 2021, and has received several awards such as  in the Education category of the Global Undergraduate Awards (2021) and the Singapore Association for the Advancement of Science (SAAS) Special Award, Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) 2021.


Principal Investigator:
Dr Kenneth Lim (CRPP, NIE)

Co-Principal Investigator:
A/P Teo Tang Wee (NSSE, NIE)

Dr Lim Wei-Yen (Tan Tock Seng Hospital); Samuel Gan (Bioinformatics Institute, A*STAR); Soo Jiunn Huat (ETD, MOE)


The project attempts to develop a multimodal learning analytics (MMLA) prototype that analyses and provides feedback on student engagement in computer-supported collaborative learning based on multiple data sources including physical, verbal, textual and physiological data. Preliminary findings shows that: (i) Verbal data complimented by textual data offers a more accurate assessment and prediction of students’ engagement in collaborative inquiry. The presence of physical movement still requires more investigation; and (ii) Students demonstrated epistemic emotions (such as frustration and confusion) and physiological fluctuations when they actively engaged in more demanding idea improvement activities as compared to idea generating activities. Emotions such as frustration are mostly avoided in class for fear of cognitive overload on students. 

The research team is finalising the MMLA prototype that teachers can use to visualise  the physical and online interaction of small groups and to understand the group collaborative engagement throughout the lesson activity. The MMLA prototype provides an exciting in-road to advance the field of AI in Education that involves building a learning system that can synthesise the meaning of language, movement, and emotions to understand the complex phenomenon of holistic learning. The MMLA system reveals observable (e.g., textual and movement) and hidden indicators (e.g.,  physiological) to better support teachers in reflecting and deliberating student-centric pedagogical moves. It opens a new way for teachers and students to understand their role and engagement in collaborative activities. 

The work from this project was accepted and presented at the 15th Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Conference (international). The project also has articles featured in NIE’s Knowledge Bites and in a news commentary in Today Online. The Principal Investigator and the research team also delivered a guest lecture on MMLA for a Masters Class in NIE and presented their work at the official launch of Artificial Intelligence for Education at NIE (AIEd@NIE).

Principal Investigator:
Dr Teo Chew Lee (CRPP, NIE)

Co-Principal Investigators:  
Dr Wong Lung Hsiang (CRPP, NIE); Dr Elizabeth Koh (CRPP, NIE); Prof Looi Chee Kit (Education University of Hong Kong)


The Educational Transitions and Pathways study is an important, first-of-its-kind research that follows a large cohort of youths across Singapore schools, from secondary to post-secondary and higher education. Starting with the first wave in 2016 (aged 13+) and the second in 2018, the study is currently in its third iteration (aged 18+). The project has enrolled 4,000 participants across the three main post-secondary institutions, and they are represented across 140 Secondary and 180 Primary schools. The key aim of this large-scale study is to provide rich empirical insights into the educational, career and life choices that young people make (and remake), and the conditions that enable (or hinder) their ability to thrive and flourish.

Preliminary findings point to the importance and interplay of individual resources and institutional contexts and their role in shaping students’ higher education pursuits, career choices and prospects, and future life and learning orientations. Key insights have been shared with participating schools, which reported on students’ engagement in career activities, post-school destinations, social capital, and feelings about school, self and future. Through and beyond this study, we hope to develop deep insights and  conversations about how young Singaporeans navigate the present and imagine the future. 


Principal Investigator:
Dr Melvin Chan (CRPP, NIE)

Co-Principal Investigators: 
Dr Imelda Caleon (OER, NIE); Dr Trivina Kang (PCL, NIE); A/P Arief Liem (PCHD, NIE)

WiREAD+, pronounced “we-read-plus” is an augmented web-based, collaborative, critical reading and learning analytics environment designed to scaffold learning and motivate students to develop richer dialogue and quality interactions with peers around multimodal texts. In prior studies, the findings have shown consistent learning gains for  secondary school students across several trials and validated the prototype design. In the current project, the enhanced system has been made more ready to scale to other educational contexts from primary schools to tertiary institutions. Across the educational contexts, the findings suggest that both the usability of WiREAD+ with its augmentations and its overall usefulness for learning is overall positive. 

The techno-pedagogical design of WiREAD+ encouraged self-directed learning, collaborative knowledge-building and learning beyond the lesson materials. The partner school received the 2020 MOE Innergy Bronze Award. Also, WiREAD+’s design, implementation and findings have been shared in NIE modules and open seminars with several attendees interested in trialling the system. A translation planning grant has also been awarded to further the translational potential of the techno-pedagogical system.


Principal Investigator:
Dr Elizabeth Koh (CRPP, NIE)

Co-Principal Investigators:
Dr Munira Binte Shaik Kadir (OER, NIE); A/P Fei Victor Lim (ELL, NIE)

Tay Siu Hua (ETD, MOE); Dr Helen Hong (ETD, MOE); Dr Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan (OCBC);  Dr Roberto de Roock (University of California, Santa Cruz)


The study investigated the reasons why inquiry-based learning (IBL) outcomes have not been consistently achieved in Singapore schools. The hypothesis was that the missing driver is the lack of quality in the teaching and learning experience in classroom environments, which is known in the literature as the aesthetic experience. It explored Singapore teachers’ current state of beliefs, skills and knowledge about aesthetic experience and how that influenced the successful implementation of IBL in lessons. The study also presented evidence that aesthetically infused inquiry-based learning (AIIBL) could be a possible approach that enriches the outcomes of IBL and teacher learning towards creating a classroom environment that is open to interrogating, multifaceted truths. 

Preliminary findings of the study were presented in prestigious and highly selective international conferences such as the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI). The study was recognised by the academic community specifically for its unique contributions in advancing theories on inquiry-based learning using aesthetic principles from the arts and in interrogating novel aspects of teaching practices for teacher learning.

Principal Investigator:
Dr Pamela Costes-Onishi, Education (CRPP, NIE)

Co-Principal Investigators:
Dr Kehk Bee Lian (Visual and Performing Arts, NIE); Dr Phillip Towndrow (CRPP, NIE); A/P Mark Baildon (United Arab Emirates University)