Acfas awards ECP's Susanne Lajoie with research prize for exceptional contribution

Published: 10 December 2021

Canada’s most prestigious French-language learned society announced the recipients of its research awards on December 8 at its 77th virtual gala ceremony, the non-profit organization Acfas, l’Association francophone pour le savoir, awarded Professor Susanne Lajoie the Prix Jeanne-Lapointefor her remarkable contribution to education.



A visionary in the field of instructional design and learning technologies

Susanne Lajoie, a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Advanced Technologies for Learning in Authentic Settings, was awarded the 2021 Prix Acfas Jeanne-Lapointe for her visionary and transformational research in the fields of instructional design and learning technologies. She is the second recipient of the prize that was created in 2020. The prize is sponsored by le Ministère de l’Éducation et par l'entremise du Conseil supérieur de l'éducation, et par le Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture.

Lajoie’s research focuses on the convergence of educational psychology, learning sciences, artificial intelligence, and digital learning. She designs and builds interactive, technology-rich learning environments (TREs) that help students develop expertise in the context of solving real-world problems, engaging their emotions, and advancing their thinking.

“It is a great privilege to receive the Acfas Jeanne-Lapointe prize for research in education. My belief is that everyone is capable of learning with the right guidance and emotional support,” said Lajoie. “My research demonstrates how technology can be designed to adapt instruction to specific learning trajectories to maximize learning and performance outcomes and enhance engagement. I am honoured that my research efforts are being recognized by this Acfas award.”

She has continued to extend her research beyond academia by working directly with schools, the medical community, and industry partners to bring about profound transformation in educational practices to various fields. For example, Lajoie co-led an initiative that developed a digital and video-based tool called HOWARD that assists medical students in Montreal and Hong Kong to learn how to monitor and manage emotions when communicating bad news to patients from different cultural backgrounds. Her TREs are also used to train medical students to practice their diagnostic reasoning in a safe environment which can reduce dangerous diagnostic mistakes in the future with real patients.

One major project that greatly increased international visibility to Lajoie’s work in Quebec was called Learning Environments Across Disciplines (LEADS), which brought together educators, psychologists, computer scientists, engineers, physicians, and students across six countries, 18 universities, and 13 partner organizations to design and implement TREs of their own. A total of 19 LEADS projects helped teach 21st-century skills to students from middle school to university in multiple domains.

Lajoie was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2018, in addition to being a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association in 2009, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2002. In 2015, she received Acfas’s Prix Thérèse Gouin Décarie for research excellence in social sciences.



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