Photo of Marcela Borge


Associate Professor of Education, Penn State College of Education
(814) 865-0625

Dr. Marcela Borge is an associate professor of Learning, Design, and Technology and a fellow of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Her program of research focuses on understanding the ways that technology can help or hinder collective sense-making, socioemotional development, and empowerment. She argues that the development of collaborative expertise (i.e., the ability to understand, manage, and improve collaborative socio-emotional interactions and sense-making processes) in technologically enhanced contexts is essential to academic, professional, and life-long success. However, this type of development does not come easily. For these reasons, she uses technology to help learners think about their own collaborative processes as objects of thought while learning about the power and potential of design. In this way she works to empower learners to see themselves as problem solvers and designers of their own experiences. She believes we must devise programs that empower diverse learners so future generations have increased opportunities to shape the design of powerful technologies. As part of this work, she has conducted in-depth analyses of how people across the life span learn to regulate their own collaborative processes and develop collaborative expertise in design and computing contexts. She has examined the development of collaborative expertise through laboratory, design-based, and fieldwork studies to investigate problems and identify communication patterns associated with higher-quality sense-making activity. She has developed instructional frameworks for empowering learners in human-centered design contexts to facilitate the learning of difficult concepts and skills. In doing so, she has developed assessment frameworks through the quantification of language to identify changes in the quality of collaborative sense-making, problems learners face, and ways they engage in collective regulation. She has used these frameworks to inform the design software tools and technology-enhanced interventions that help students learn about and improve upon design ways of thinking and their own collaborative processes. She has also developed pedagogical models for developing young learners’ ability to learn about and regulate socioemotional processes in play-based, human-centered design contexts. Currently, she is working to devise new frameworks to help instructors use generative AI to support students’ development of collaborative competencies associated with complex sense-making activity.

Research Interests

Computer-supported collaborative learning, cognition and development, the design and evaluation of collaborative learning technologies, sociocultural theory, group cognition, human-computer interaction, emerging technologies, intelligent systems, play-based learning, technology enhanced learning, socio-metacognition.