Neil Peirce
Research Fellow, Computer Science


Neil Peirce is currently a Research Fellow in the Knowledge and Data Engineering Group (KDEG) and a Technology Lead at the Learnovate Centre ( He was awarded a B.A.(Mod) in Computer Science from TCD in 2004, an MSc. in Multimedia Systems from TCD in 2005, and a PhD in Computer Science from TCD in 2013. He has worked on several nationally and European funded research projects in the areas of game-based learning, intelligent content, and educational technology. He is currently the coordinator of the DEVELOP project funded by the EC under the Horizon 2020 program.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Felicia, P., Neil Peirce, Mairead Brady and Ann Devitt(ed.), Irish Game Based Learning Conference, Proceedings of the 6th Irish Conference on Game-Based Learning, Trinity College Dublin, 6th, 1-2 September, 2016, 1-334 p Proceedings of a Conference, 2016

Neil Peirce, Game-based assessment for Career Development, Irish Conference on Game-based Learning, Dublin, Ireland, 1st-2nd Sept 2016, 2016 Poster, 2016 TARA - Full Text URL

Digital Game-based Learning for Early Childhood in, editor(s)Pauline Rooney, Nicola Whitton , Game-Based Learning and Gamification, UK, Cambridge Scholars, 2016, pp156 - 186, [Neil Peirce] Book Chapter, 2016 URL

Daire O Broin, Neil Peirce, Tracey Cassells, Ken Power, Using Game Elements to Make Studying More Engaging, European Conference on Game Based Learning, Steinkjer, Norway, 8-9 October 2015, edited by Robin Munkvold, Line Kolås , 2015, pp423 - 430 Conference Paper, 2015 TARA - Full Text

Evangelos Kapros, Neil Peirce, Usability of Educational Technology APIs: Findings and Guidelines, Learning and Collaboration Technologies, HCI International, Los Angeles, CA, 2-7 August 2015, edited by P. Zaphiris and A. Ioannou , LNCS 9192, Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 2015, pp249 - 260 Conference Paper, 2015 DOI URL

Evangelos Kapros, Neil Peirce, Empowering L&D Managers through Customisation of Inline Learning Analytics, HCI International 2014, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, June 22-27, 2014, edited by Panayiotis Zaphiris, Andri Ioannou , Springer International Publishing, 2014, pp282 - 291 Conference Paper, 2014 DOI URL

Personalised Learning for Casual Games: The 'Language Trap' Online Language Learning Game in, editor(s)Thomas Connolly , Leading Issues in Games-Based Learning Research, Reading, UK, Academic Publishing International Ltd, 2011, pp159 - 177, [Neil Peirce, Vincent Wade] Book Chapter, 2011 URL

Neil Peirce, Vincent Wade, Personalised Learning for Casual Games: The 'Language Trap' Online Language Learning Game , 4th European Conference on Game Based Learning (ECGBL), Copenhagen, Denmark, 21-22 October 2010, edited by Bente Meyer , Academic Publishing, 2010, pp306 - 315 Conference Paper, 2010 URL TARA - Full Text

Owen Conlan, Cormac Hampson, Neil Peirce, Michael Kickmeier-Rust, Realtime Knowledge Space Skill Assessment for Personalized Digital Educational Games, Ninth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, 2009. ICALT 2009. , Riga, Latvia., 15-17 July 2009, edited by Ignacio Aedo, Nian-Shing Chen, Kinshuk, Demetrios Sampson, Larissa Zaitseva , IEEE Computer Society, 2009, pp538 - 542 Conference Paper, 2009 DOI URL

Peirce, N., Conlan, O., Wade, V., Adaptive Educational Games: Providing Non-invasive Personalised Learning Experiences, Second IEEE International Conference on Digital Games and Intelligent Toys Based Education (DIGITEL 2008), Banff, Canada, 17-19 November 2008, edited by Kinshuk, Eisenberg, M. , IEEE Computer Society Press, 2008, pp8 Conference Paper, 2008 TARA - Full Text DOI

Albert, Dietrich and Hockemeyer, Cord and Kickmeier-Rust, Michael D. and Peirce, Neil and Conlon, Owen, Microadaptivity within complex learning situations - a personalized approach based on competence structures and problem spaces, 15th International Conference on Computers in Education, ICCE 2007, Hiroshima, Japan, 5-9 November, 2007, 2007 Poster, 2007 TARA - Full Text

Kickmeier-Rust, Michael D. and Peirce, Neil and Conlan, Owen and Schwarz, Daniel and Verpoorten, Dominique and Albert, Dietrich, Immersive digital games: the interfaces for next-generation e-learning?, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, HCI International 2007, Beijing, 22-27 July 2007, 4556/2007, Springer, 2007, pp647 - 656 Conference Paper, 2007 URL DOI

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Neil Peirce, The Non-invasive Personalisation of Educational Video Games, Trinity College Dublin, 2013 Thesis, 2013 TARA - Full Text

Neil Peirce, Digital Game-based Learning for Early Childhood, Learnovate Centre, March, 2013, 1, 42 Report, 2013 URL TARA - Full Text

Research Expertise


My research interests cover many aspects of educational technology including personalised learning, game-based learning, learning analytics, and data visualisation.


  • Title
  • Summary
    • A key challenge in improving life-long learning, employee flexibility, and skill-matching is the assessment of workplace relevant competencies and the planning of individual learning paths for career development. The aim of this project is to develop a personalised learning environment for career development. The environment will provide assessment of transversal competencies and social capital to highlight learning opportunities for career development. It will combine this with personalised visualisations of potential career paths to inform and guide learners towards realistic and attainable careers. DEVELOP will: -Use social network analysis to assess social capital that has been built among colleagues -Assess transversal competencies such as leadership and collaboration, using game-based assessment techniques combined with social network analysis evidence -Apply AI planning techniques to recommend learning opportunities for career development -Create interfaces for employees and HR to aid both career awareness and talent management within an organisation -Support internal mobility of employees and better skill-matching to increase employee engagement and reduce attrition rates -Consider diverse sources of social network evidence including enterprise social networks, email, and self-reporting tools -Gain end-user trust by providing clear informed consent and transparent data privacy DEVELOP will deliver an adaptive learning environment that dynamically tailors the exploration, comprehension, and planning of learning opportunities and career paths in medium and large companies. It will aid employee learning through reflection on transversal competencies and social capital, as key enablers of career development. DEVELOP will use a close academic-industry collaboration to deliver new tools and methods for learning technology vendors. These tools and methods will be informed by, trialled, and evaluated with end-users across ICT, Pharmaceuticals, and Financial Services.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission
  • Date From
    • 1st February 2016
  • Date To
    • 31st January 2019
  • Title
    • Learnovate Centre
  • Summary
    • The Learnovate Centre is an industry-led centre of excellence for innovation and research in learning technologies. Our mission is to enhance the competitive advantage of the learning technology industry by partnering business with leading researchers from world class higher education institutions. Our focus is to pioneer breakthrough technology and transfer it into measurable learning innovation. Our goal is to be a globally recognised, industry-led centre of excellence in applied learning technology research and innovation. We develop new know-how and leverage existing research expertise from leading Irish universities - resulting in empirically proven and industry validated next practice learning technologies.
  • Funding Agency
    • Enterprise Ireland/IDA
  • Date From
    • 2012
  • Date To
    • 2017
  • Title
    • PERCOLATE (PERsonalised and COllaborative Learning Across connecTed Environments)
  • Summary
    • The objective of PERCOLATE is to investigate innovative social and informal learning methods and applications by researching and evaluating techniques and research demonstrators using state of the art social discovery, collaboration and personalisation technologies. PERCOLATE will focus on three aspects, namely Social and Informal Learning, Informal Learning Metrics/Measurement and Service & Information Interoperability.
  • Funding Agency
    • Enterprise Ireland & IDA Ireland
  • Date From
    • January 2011
  • Date To
    • April 2012
  • Title
    • Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL)
  • Summary
    • The Centre for Next Generation Localisation is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in the category "Centre for Science Engineering and Technology (CSET). Access to information and seamless communication are keys to success in the emerging multilingual and multicultural societies, and underpin global commerce and development. Localisation, the industrial process of linguistic and cultural adaptation to market requirements, is a core strategic technology in the transformation towards information- and knowledge-based economies. Ireland is particularly well placed to have a strong impact on this core strategic technology. Ireland has the highest concentration of localisation industry worldwide, and has continuously been at the forefront of innovation and development of localisation processes and practices. CNGL has the potential to revolutionise localisation through its unique Industry-Academia partnership. We aim to achieve breakthroughs in standards, interoperability and automation based on language and digital content management technology. The basic research carried out by CNGL underpins these breakthroughs and provides the foundations for technology transfer and commercial exploitation of the results. The Centre will help Ireland to maintain its leading position in this important sector of ICT, move localisation activities in Ireland up the value chain, and, in close collaboration with the Industrial Partners, ensure that innovations from the research labs translate into business opportunities, revenue streams and cutting edge, high-tech employment opportunities in the Irish ICT sector. In addition, through one of its Industrial Partners, DNP, the Centre has the unique opportunity to directly engage in the development and innovation of localisation technology in the Asian market.
  • Funding Agency
    • Science Foundation Ireland
  • Date From
    • 1st December 2007
  • Date To
    • 30th November 2012
  • Title
    • ELEKTRA - Enhanced Learning Experience and Knowledge Transfer
  • Summary
    • Point of departure for this project is the observation that digital learning games suffer from various deficits that severely impair their effectiveness as a learning tool. For example, they do not make use of the motivating power of elaborate story telling. ELEKTRA's response to this problem is to link research in the field of pedagogy with neuroscience, cognitive science and computer science. This will bridge the gap between cognitive theory and gaming practice and help to assess the cognitive potential of learning games and to put their development on solid scientific grounds. The neuroscience part of ELEKTRA will study the effectiveness of different teaching/learning scenarios by event-related brain imaging in combination with psychological learning tests. ELEKTRA's vision is to make learning as exciting for learners as leading-edge computer games are exciting for gamers. This vision shall be realised in the form of an immersive 3D world for learning that uses state-of-the-art game design techniques for visualisation, interaction and storytelling. ELEKTRA's 3D world will visualise learning topics as highly interactive virtual landscapes, conceived as a 'garden of knowledge' through which the learner can perambulate freely or by following the guidance of a storyline and/or a game character. This typical concept for game-play comprises a user-centric perspective, supported by multimodal concepts for learning paths and learner models. Narration ('the original form of teaching') will be part of the didactic design. The game-play will be enhanced with interactive dramaturgy and direction in order to drive the storytelling and deepen the immersion of the learner into the learning topic. Monitoring and assessment of the learner will be integrated in a way that enables a situated and activity-driven learning experience. The virtual learning environment will react in relation to the learner's behaviour and cognitive state and to the learning progress represented in the learner model. Target groups for these next generation learning games are secondary school children and university students. ELEKTRA is set up as a multi-disciplinary project. The consortium combines research expertise in the fields of cognitive science, pedagogical theory and neuroscience with the design techniques of computer games and e-learning.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission (IST)
  • Date From
    • March 2006
  • Date To
    • March 2008


Artificial Intelligence; Computer Graphics; Expert Systems; Game based learning; Knowledge and data engineering; Knowledge Management; LEARNING; Multimedia; Technology & Learning



Co-chair of the Irish Conference on Game-based Learning 2016

Invited Panellist EC H2020 Digital Learning Round Table 2014

Regional Chair for Ireland, Serious Games Society 2014-

Programme Committee - European Conference on Game Based Learning (ECGBL) 2014

Programme Committee - European Conference on Game Based Learning (ECGBL) 2013

Awards and Honours

European Language Label 2010

Best full paper IEEE DIGITEL Conference 2008 2008


Engineers Ireland Ordinary Member 2005