Like shared scientific instruments in other domains (i.e., the Hubble Space Telescope), E-TRIALS (previously known as the ASSISTments Testbed) provides the infrastructure necessary for educational researchers to push the boundaries of inquiry.

E-TRIALS gives scientists freedom to run experiments in authentic learning environments, revolutionizing how learning science research is conducted

What We Do

E-TRIALS leverages ASSISTments, one of the only evidence-based online learning interventions in the nation, to provide a unique environment for randomized controlled experimentation in authentic learning environments

Design Experiments

We collaborate with researchers to design and conduct cutting edge learning science experiments

Help Students Learn

Our projects have been associated with increased student learning in rural, urban, and suburban schools

Support Quality Research

Our infrastructure is easy to use and supports researchers as they design their experiments

Collect Rigorous Data

ASSISTments has 100,000 users who completed 12 million problems in the 2017-2018 academic year – this data is de-identified and made available for researchers

Case Study: NSF provides $1 million in funding for study conducted in E-TRIALS

Dr. Candace Walkington of Southern Methodist University received $1 million from the NSF to collaborate with the E-TRIALS team. In her project, Dr. Walkington is examining the effects of tailoring algebra question content to students’ career interests. For more info, see Walkington's website.

Research Made Simple

E-TRIALS is easy to navigate – experimental conditions and content can be customized to address almost any research question

Producing Publications

E-TRIALS has resulted in 29 published papers with 9 from researchers working independent of the ASSISTments team

"Quite simply, E-TRIALS is a dream come true for researchers interested in student learning."

- Virginia Clinton, University of North Dakota

Links to peer reviewed publications made possible by E-TRIALS

Under review

  1. Smith, H., Harrison, A., Chan, J. C., & Ottmar, E. (Under review). Dynamic vs. static: Which worked examples work best? Poster submission to the 2020 meeting of The Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society. [Pre-registration]
  2. Harrison, A., Smith, H., Hulse, T., & Ottmar, E. (Under review). Spacing out!: Manipulating spatial features in mathematical expressions affects performance. Manuscript submitted for review.
  3. Harrison, A., Smith, H., Hulse, T., & Ottmar, E. (2020). Spacing out: Manipulating spatial features in math expressions affects performance. Paper to be presented in a roundtable session on “Design Considerations in Mathematics Learning” at the 2020 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.


  1. Duquennois (2019)
  2. Walkington, Clinton & Sparks (2019)
  3. Hurst & Cordes (2018)
  4. McGuire, et al (2017)
  5. Fyfe (2016)
  6. Koedinger & McLaughlin (2016)