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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For Reviewers

I have accepted the invitation to review paper submissions via EasyChair. Where can I find more information about how to review the papers that have been assigned to me?

Please find reviewer guidelines in our document Guidelines for Reviewers.

General Inquiries

Should I submit to the ICLS conference or to the CSCL conference?

The ISLS Annual Meeting is a platform for researchers and practitioners who are interested in learning experiences across schools, homes, workplaces and communities, and who seek to understand how learning is enabled by knowledge, tools, collaboration, networks, and social structures. (1) The CSCL program addresses and invites work with a joint focus on technology and collaboration. (2) All other submissions within the broader scope should be submitted to the LS program. This includes submissions with a stronger focus on technology that do not particularly address collaborative learning.

More info at Submitting to CSCL and ISLS & in the submissions webinar slide deck.

How do I decide which submission type is the best fit for me?

We invite you to consult the Call for Papers which outlines the different types of submission formats and their respective requirements. We also invite you to watch our Submissions Webinar Q&A and webinar slide deck which describe the submission types in greater detail.

Are there separate submission links for CSCL and ICLS programs?

It is the same submission link (https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=isls2023), but you will have to pick a track when you submit the paper.

What is new this year in ISLS?

This year, we have three new submission formats. Practice-oriented papers encourage submissions from practitioners. We are also encouraging Innovative symposia submissions to help our community explore new ways to build and sustain community. Also new this year are what we are calling “long-tailed workshops” as part of our Pre-conference workshop submissions. Check out the Call for Papers to learn more.

Are references and appendices included in the page limit?


Can I submit work that has already been submitted to other academic sources, but that is still under review?


How much information should we omit for paper submissions blinded for review to maintain anonymity?

As outlined in the Submission Template:

  • Do not include author names and institutions under the title in your submissions.
  • Avoid using phrases like “our previous work” when referring to earlier publications by the authors.
  • When referring to your own work, use something like “Authors, 2022” instead of your name(s). When referring to your own projects which might have a known or searchable name, change the name of the project.
  • Remove information that may identify the authors in the acknowledgements (e.g., grants, colleagues, institutions, federal agencies of your country).
  • Avoid providing web links to sites or other supplementary materials that may identify the authors.

Also, when citing your work in the References/Bibliography, do not include the name of the papers. For example, list your work as:
Author (2015).
Author (2018).
Author et al. (2020).

Is there a limit to the number of proposals that we can submit to the ISLS annual meeting?

No limit.

What is the acceptance rate for submissions to ICLS and CSCL conferences?

The acceptance rate for papers into the refereed proceedings for both ICLS and CSCL is generally 30%. This rate is comparable to acceptance rates at selective computer science conferences (CHI 2019: 24.3%, SIGGRAPH 2019: 28%, 2019 CSCW: 26%, AIED: 25%).

How can I improve my chances of acceptance?

As with any selective process, understanding the evaluation criteria and having models of accepted work are important first steps to increasing one’s chances of acceptance. To this end, we have provided some resources for you to be informed of the evaluation criteria as well as other important considerations when selecting the target conference and the submission type (see Submissions Webinar Q&A and webinar slide deck). You may also consult previous years’ proceedings which can provide you with examples of previously accepted work.

Where will the conference proceedings be published?

Information about ISLS proceedings can be found on the ISLS proceedings webpage and on the ISLS Publications page.

How are proceeding publications related to a journal publication? Do we need permission to publish elsewhere?

ISLS proceedings are peer reviewed and published. They do not usually count as much as journal publications, but they are more than regular conference presentations. For example, you could add them to your CV under a section for “Published peer-reviewed proceedings.” For questions about publishing proceedings elsewhere, we invite you to consult the ISLS Publications page for more information.

If we submit a full 8 page paper, and it is accepted, can we build upon that paper to submit to the Journal of the Learning sciences later?

Yes and this is encouraged! You will need to expand the paper to make it more robust and comprehensive but having the initial version be an ISLS paper is a great way to start and get some feedback from the field on your ideas and your work. If you intend to submit an expanded version to another journal not associated with the society then you will need to ask the Publication Committee to grant you permission. You do not need permission if you are submitting to one of the society’s two journals — JLS or ijCSCL. See more information on the ISLS Publications page.

Who can I contact if I cannot find answers to my questions on this website?

For all conference-related questions that are not addressed on this website, please email [email protected].


Do we need to propose the symposium format at the time of submission or after acceptance?

Your symposium proposal must include the proposed format when submitting to the online submission system (EasyChair) as this is one of the criteria that will be reviewed.

What is the page limit for single contributions within a symposium (minimum and maximum)?

There is no limit (minimum or maximum) for single contributions within a symposium. The total page limit (10 pages) is what counts.

What information about the discussant should we provide?

The name of the discussant is sufficient. No other materials are required.

Do we need to include an introduction section in our symposium submission?

Yes, an introductory section highlighting the overarching aims and scientific/educational relevance of the symposium is required. Any introductory sections are included in the 10-page limit.

Within a single symposium, can there be a combination of empirical, conceptual, and methodological contributions from different individual authors?


Can symposia papers come from the same country/university?

Yes. There are no constraints on who or where the papers come from for symposia.

Research Papers & Posters

How are research papers evaluated?

Evaluations are based on: 1) conference alignment – whether the paper is submitted to the appropriate conference (see Submitting to CSCL & ICLS for more information); 2) match between stage of work and submission type – whether the stage of work presented in the paper matches the type of submission for which it was submitted (for example, early stages of work seeking feedback would be more appropriate as a poster when compared to mature work which would be more appropriate as a full paper); 3) articulation of research problem and contribution — whether the paper clearly articulates the research problem and contribution; 4) scholarly rigour — whether the paper has a coherent argument with literature/theory that supports the need for your research questions, the methods/procedures you chose, findings align with research questions, and discussion goes back to the theoretical argument to explain how the findings answer the questions, connect to other research, and extend what is known in the field.

Please see the Webinar Q&A’s and webinar slide deck for more information.

How are posters evaluated?

Posters are evaluated using the same criteria as “research papers” (see Q&A above), except with some leeway for scholarly rigour, given that posters usually present work in its early stages. Instead, posters will be evaluated based on their potential to generate feedback from the ISLS community.

How are conceptual/theoretical contributions evaluated?

In general, theoretical contributions are evaluated in terms of multiple criteria: a) the theoretical contribution addresses a meaningful need in the field, that it is, it contributes to a problem or issue that the field of the Learning Sciences (LS) has been grappling with; b) it provides a substantial contribution, it is novel and offers new insights that are powerful for thinking about learning in real world contexts (e.g., formal and informal learning spaces); c) it builds on and connects to existing work in the LS field—the work needs to fit in and contribute to ongoing conversations in the LS field and so you need to explicate, in the paper, how the new theory builds on and connects to prior work in the LS field.

Do poster submissions need to have empirical findings?

Posters are usually works in progress and often may not have empirical data. It is acceptable to submit a poster proposal without data.

How do I know whether I should submit a poster or a short paper?

Posters aim to provide authors with feedback and conversation during early stages of research, for example, during design or very early in the implementation phase. Short papers aim to help authors further refine work that has already begun and is perhaps nearing completion.

What sections should we privilege in writing the proposal?

All sections matter and the key is balance. Usually for an 8 page submission you want to have about 2 pages for introduction and theoretical frameworks, then about 0.5-1 page methods (closer to 1 page if you are describing an instructional design as well as how you studied it), then 3-4 pages for results, about 0.5-1 page discussion and about 0.5-0.75 page references. Remember, you need to motivate the study–explain how it relates to conversations in the field. What gap does it address? Provide the theoretical grounding for the work and review relevant prior literature (especially literature from the Learning Sciences or CSCL, depending on which conference you are submitting to). Describe the methods briefly but with enough substance for readers to understand the general approach and how you went about analyzing the data. Describe the results and help the reader understand how they relate to your research questions and the theories you are drawing on. Make sure to help the reader make connections—do the work of interpreting the findings for the reader. In the discussion relate your specific findings to ongoing conversations in the field–how does this work extend what we know and contribute new insights that go beyond the specifics of your study. Use relevant references but keep it tight—cite the most relevant and most recent.

Do you accept review papers?

We do accept reviews to either conference (ICLS or CSCL) but they need to provide some novel insights. These reviews should synthesize the literature in ways that contribute to new understandings.

Does my submission have to align with the annual meeting theme?

While we encourage authors to submit work that aligns with the meeting theme, this is not part of the evaluation criteria.

What are the most common errors observed in paper submissions?

The most common issues observed in prior submissions have included, amongst others, conference alignment and coherency of arguments. For example, a paper may be a good fit for ICLS but was submitted to CSCL. For this reason, we encourage authors to carefully review the difference between CSCL and ICLS. Authors may also consult the webinar slide deck which provides additional clarification on this question. Regarding coherency of arguments, we encourage authors to articulate their research problem and contribution clearly. For example, “this has not been studied” is not a strong argument. A better argument would be “this is what we know and how we know it; this is what we have yet to know and how we will investigate it.” Also, please use the Submission Template & Guidelines when preparing your submission.

How can I cite non-English references in my manuscript?

Please use the most recent version of the APA style format for references in other languages than English. This includes direct quotations in the text and the reference list. See for example: https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2018/09/how-to-quote-a-foreign-language-source-and-its-translation.html. Also, see How to cite translated works (apa.org).

Can I upload complementary materials to a shared document (e.g., Google Drive) and provide the link in the paper submission (e.g., in the Endnote)?

For papers (e.g., full papers, short papers, and posters) submitted for blinded review, avoid providing web links to sites or any other supplementary materials that may identify the authors. For papers submitted for non-blinded review (e.g., symposia) or for final paper uploads of accepted papers, links to supplemental resources are permitted but links should be relatively short to appear clean and concise.

I am a PhD student in the early stages of my doctoral studies. Can I submit something?

Yes, the annual meeting is a great place for doctoral students to present their early work and refine their ideas with support from the ISLS community. Specifically, we encourage students to present one or two aspects of their doctoral work–for example specifically focusing on the theoretical framework, the methodology, or the research design–rather than the entirety of their PhD work, in order to receive more pertinent, focused feedback.

Alternatively, we are also proposing a Doctoral Consortium created to specifically help doctoral students. More information can be found on the Doctoral Consortium page of our website.

Practice-Oriented Papers

Who counts as a practitioner?

For our purposes here, a practitioner is broadly defined as anyone who works on questions of educational importance, but who are not directly involved in academic research activities.

What is the nature of work that you are hoping to receive in this year’s practitioner stream?

New to ISLS this year, Practitioner-oriented papers describe work that focuses on implementation and aims to demonstrate effective principles of design. Practitioner-oriented papers ensure that instructional design and implementation align with those valued/examined/promoted in the field. If possible, submissions should focus on areas that are of particular interest or under-represented in the field (e.g., research-practice partnerships, community/work organizations, urban education, alternative and indigenous ways of generating knowledge).

Would a practitioner self-study be appropriate as a Practice-Oriented paper?

Yes, a self study can be presented in this format.

Will the practice-oriented papers be published in the main conference proceedings?

Yes, as short papers.

Technology Innovation Papers

What is the difference between Technology Innovations versus Interactive Tools & Demos?

Whereas the Interactive Tools & Demos focuses on a working prototype that presenters would like to show at the conference, Technology Innovation papers focuses on the submission of a paper that describes an innovative technology that you designed and how it applies to educational contexts.

Do I have to bring the innovative technology that I developed to the conference?


Interactive Tools and Demos

Can I submit an idea for an interactive tool that has not yet been developed?

A portion of or the completed version of your tool, software, or environment must be ready to present, even if it is not finished. An idea about a tool is not sufficient.

What is the difference between an interactive tool and a demo?

For our purposes, there is not a difference, per se. The title “Interactive Tools & Demos” highlights the interactive nature of the proposed presentations.

Do I have to bring the tool, software, or environment to the conference?

Presenters must make their tool, software, or environment accessible to conference participants in whichever way is the most appropriate to encourage audience interaction.

Pre-Conference Workshops

What is appropriate for the pre-conference workshops? Can these be practitioner-oriented?

Pre-conference workshops should be designed as active sessions on a focused issue of educational importance. Substantial time should be allocated for interaction between participants. We encourage submissions that engage both academics and practitioners and that consider ways to sustain these conversations through, for example, long-tailed workshops (see Call for Papers).