Esther Tan

Senior Researcher at Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning (LDE-CEL), Delft University of Technology

Dr. Esther Tan obtained her doctoral degree in the Learning Sciences at the Munich Center of the Learning Sciences (MCLS), University of Munich (LMU), Germany in 2015. She was an assistant professor from 2016 to 2018 at the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) where she focused her work on two Erasmus+ research projects: Let’s Learn to Learn (LELLE) and MOOQ (quality of MOOCs): the latter was awarded the most innovative Erasmus+ project by the European Commission.

Prior to her doctoral training, she had already acquired wide-ranging educational and research experience at various institutions: she was an education technology officer with the Educational Technology Division (ETD), Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore; head of IT at Shanghai Singapore International School (SSIS), Shanghai; and a research associate with the Singapore Future School Project to advance research in the 21st century digital skills and competencies at the Learning Sciences Lab (LSL), National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore.

Her core research areas include mobile and seamless learning, collaborative knowledge building, and multimodal learning analytics (MMLA) in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). Her empirical works on mobile and seamless learning explored the design and enactment of mobile learning trails with a focus on pervasive knowledge building activities in and out of the classroom mediated by mobile devices and applications. For outdoor learning, she examined how learners leverage knowledge resources (i.e., contextual, conceptual and prior knowledge) in environmental interaction to co-construct knowledge. As a learning scientist, her research gave emphasis to the investigation of learning processes to unpack and elaborate its complexity; to advance learning science and better pedagogical practices and student learning. She is apt in process analysis, interaction analysis and case studies. Building on emerging technological and pedagogical dynamics, she has extended her research to investigate how real-time analytics can support learners in collaborative knowledge co-construction in CSCL settings. She is currently the co-project investigator of “Uncovering the Process and Outcome of CSCL using MMLA: New Environments and Assessment for CSCL in the learning continuum”: a collaboration with National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.



2018 till present Senior Researcher, Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning (LDE-CEL), Delft University of Technology (TU-Delft), The Netherlands

2015 - 2018 Assistant Professor, Welten Institute, Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, The Netherlands

2012- 2015 Doctoral Student, Munich Center of the Learning Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany.

2010- 2012 Research Associate, Learning Sciences Lab, National Institute of Education, Singapore.

2006- 2008 Head of IT, Shanghai Singapore International School, Shanghai.

2001- 2005 Educational Technology Officer, Educational Technology Division. Ministry of Education, Singapore.

1995 – 2000 German as Foreign Language Teacher, Temasek Secondary School, Singapore.

Selected Publications

Learning Analytics

Chen, H.Y., Tan, E., Lee, Y., Praharaj, S., Specht, M., & Zhao, G.Y. (2020). Developing AI into Explanatory Supporting Models: An Explanation-visualized Deep Learning Prototype for Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. In the proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2020. Nashville: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Valle Torre, M., Tan, E., & Hauff, C. (2020). edX Log Data Analysis Made Easy. In the proceedings of the 10th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference. Frankfurt, Germany.


Mobile and Seamless Learning

Tan, E. & So, H. J. (2018). Role of Environmental Interaction in Interdisciplinary Thinking: from Knowledge Resources Perspectives. The Journal of Environmental Education. DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2018.1531280

Tan, E., & So, H. J. (2016). Students’ Use of Knowledge Resources in Environmental Interaction on an Outdoor Learning Trail. In Looi, C. K., Polman, J. L., Cress, U., and Reimann, P. (Eds.) (2016). Transforming Learning, Empowering Learners: The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2016, Volume 2, (pp. 745-752). Singapore: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Tan, E. & So, H. J. (2015). Rethinking the impact of activity design on a mobile learning trail: The missing dimension of the physical affordances. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies. DOI: 10.1109/TLT.2014.2376951

Tan, E., So, H. J., & Zhang, X. J. (2012). Teacher Agency and Student Autonomy in an Inquiry-based Mobile Learning Trail. In the proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE), Nov 26 to 30, 2012, Singapore.


Collaborative Knowledge Building

So, H. J. & Tan, E. (2014). Designing the situation for pervasive knowledge building: Future school experiences. In Tan, S. C., So, H. J. and J. Yeo, J. (Eds.), Knowledge creation in education, (pp. 123-142). Singapore: Springer.

So, H. J., Tan, E., & Tay, J. (2012). Collaborative mobile learning in situ from knowledge building perspectives. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 21(1), 51-62.


Classroom Scripts and Computer Supported Collaborative Learning

van den Bos, A. H., & Tan, E. (2019). Effects of Anonymity on Online Peer Review in Second-Language Writing. Computers & Education, 142. DOI:

Tan, E. (2018). Effects of two differently sequenced classroom scripts on common ground in collaborative inquiry learning. Instructional Science, 1-27.
De Weerd, J., Tan, E., & Stoyanov, S. (2017, September). Fostering Interdisciplinary Knowledge Construction in Computer-Assisted Collaborative Concept Mapping. In European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (pp. 391-396). Springer, Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-66610-5_32

Dr. E.B.K. Tan

Visiting Address
Building 36

Room: HB05.250
Mekelweg 4
2628 CD Delft
The Netherlands

Mailing Address
EEMCS, Web Information Systems
P.O. Box 5031, 2600 GA Delft
The Netherlands