Embodied Learning | TTLL Season 1, Episode 05

Aug 2, 2022, 09:05 AM by Bob Dignan

About the guests 

Robb Lindgren is an Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction in the College of Education.  

Read his bio, learn more about his research, and see his publications and courses at: 

Ava Wolf is an assistant director at the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning. 

Episode Resources 

Lindgren, R., DeLiema, D. Viewpoint, embodiment, and roles in STEM learning technologies. Education Tech Research Dev (2022) 

Learn more about Embodied Learning in this video from Move2Learn, an international research-practitioner collaboration, on YouTube.

Episode Summary 

This episode explores embodied learning—using expression, gestures, and body movement to deepen the learning process. 


And yes, it’s okay to chuckle that this topic is being featured on a listen-only podcast, according to host Bob Dignan. He invites you to picture him and guests—Robb Lindgren (Education) and Ava Wolf (CITL)—using facial expressions, hand gestures, and other movements throughout their conversation—and join in. 


Lindgren does research on how people learn with emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and interactive simulation and is particularly curious about the ways you can make interactions with these technologies more physical. 


“We take those things really seriously because we think that there’s a tight-knit relationship between how we move … our body, and how we think … and how people learn,” he says, adding that just getting up and looking at an object from another angle can broaden one’s perspective. 


While an avid proponent, Lindgren advises there are right—and wrong—approaches to incorporating it into learning. 


It doesn’t mean putting treadmills in every classroom, having students do jumping jacks when solving word problems, or incorporating “movement for the sake of movement.” It must be done in a way that’s meaningful to the learning objectives and content. And don’t use AR, VR, or other technology just to replicate something that can be done in the real world. 

“It’s about finding things that you can’t do,” he says. “I can’t fly. I can’t shrink down to the microscopic level to see cells. 


“What we want to do is create these very nurturing and supportive situations with the technologies that we have available to us … so it’s not just replicating the lecture but creating these better learning opportunities and experiences.” 


Listen to this episode for the full discussion, including some of the research projects Lindgren is working on, the importance of designing conducive learning environments, how to engage introverted students, and how to introduce embodied learning into your course. 


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This podcast was produced by the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Illinois. Episodes can be found on our website,, and major podcast platforms. We hope you’ll find us there and join the conversation!