Dr Lei Shi
a scholar • a designer • a traveller
tell me more


I’m a Teaching Fellow and Research Information Systems Consultant in Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. I research on Behavioural Analytics, Information System, and Human-Computer Interaction. I teach Programming Solutions and Data Analytics. I design, implement and deliver smart IT solutions. I travel around the world.

As a scholar

I am interested in how digital products and services can be designed and used to improve effectiveness, efficiency and user experience.

As a designer

I enjoy design adaptive, intuitive and persuasive solutions using participatory design methods and gamification and social computing techniques.

As a traveller

I love discovering new and inspiring places. I love staying with locals and meeting other travellers. I have been to 36 countries and a few hundreds towns.


I explore the role of interdisciplinary methods through new lines of inquiry that cut cross boundaries of Data Science, Design Science and Behavioural Science. I apply technology-inspired, psychology-driven and people-focused approaches. I work on a range of topics including digital product innovation, user behaviour and perception, in the field of Health and Well-being and Educational Intelligence.


My research enthusiasm is to capitalise on and take advantage of theoretical and implementation advances that have been made in the fields of adaptive hypermedia, social computing, game research and motivational theories. I explore innovative methods of combining, threading and balancing the amount of adaptation, social interaction, gamification and open user modelling for Health and Well-being and Educational Intelligence.


User-centred design, participatory design, experimental design, survey design, contextual inquiry, interview, cognitive task analysis, think-aloud/talk-aloud protocol, ideation, scenarios, personas, storyboards, wireframe, rapid prototyping, focus group, usability testing, heuristic evaluation.

Funding & Awards

  • IAS Early Career Fellowship 2014-2015, September 2014
    Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, UK
  • Best Student Paper Award at ICWL, August 2014
    The 13th Int’l Conf. on Web-based Learning, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Best Demo Award at UMAP, July 2014
    The 22nd Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization, Aalborg, Denmark
  • Best Extended Abstract Award at YDS, August 2014
    The 6th York Doctoral Symposium on Computer Science, York, UK
  • Best Paper Award at IADIS-EL, August 2013
    The 13th Int’l Conf. on Web-based Learning, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Best Poster Award at ICALT, July 2013
    The 13th IEEE Int’l Conf. on Advanced Learning Technologies, Beijing, China
  • Chancellor’s International Scholarship 2011-2014, October 2011
    Warwick Graduate School, University of Warwick, UK
  • Excellent Graduate Award, March 2011
    Zhejiang Province, China’s government, China
  • Outstanding Postgraduate Leader Award, July 2010
    Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
  • Gold Prize Software Design Award, June 2009
    Infoteria Inc., Tokyo, Japan

Academic Services

  • Open Day Organiser, March & July 2015
    Warwick Manufacturing Group – WMG, University of Warwick
  • Paper Reviewer, March 2015
    Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS)
  • Project Proposal Reviewer, January 2015
    A Czech Health Research Council
  • Journal Reviewer, February & June 2015
    IEEE Multimedia
  • PC Member, August 2014, August 2013, August 2012
    Imperial College Computing Student Workshop (ICCSW)
  • Student Volunteer, June 2014
    The 22nd Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization, Aalborg, Denmark
  • Book Chapter Reviewer, March 2014
    "The Evolution of the Internet in the Business Sector: Web1.0 to Web 3.0", IGI Global
  • Paper Reviewer, February 2014
    Int’l Conf. on Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS)
  • Paper Reviewer, May 2013
    Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS)
  • Journal Reviewer, April 2013
    World Wide Web Journal (WWWJ)
  • Journal Reviewer, March 2013
    IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies (IEEE TLT)


I enjoy multi-disciplinary projects where I can work together with people from different fields with different techniques and views.

Flipped Classroom (in-progress)

Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses traditional learning environments by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor.

We develop a new blended learning teaching/learning approach utilising MOOC videos and classroom & seminars. We are looking at how the students watch videos against their performance on the learning process and on the module assessment.

Self- & Peer Assessment (in-progress)

Students learn about team skills from the process of completing self- and peer assessments. Completing self- and peer assessment also gives students timeline with multi-rater systems which are common in work organisations yet tend to make students uncomfortable. Research has shown student attitudes toward group work are more positive when peer assessment are used. Familiarising students with the peer assessment instrument before they begin working in teams shows students what team-member behaviours are expected and what behaviours are to be avoided, and can help team develop shared expectations for team members.

We develop a peer assessment app applying the CATME questionnaire to collect self- and peer assessment data which are further analysed to explore social (relationship between students) and personal (gender, nationality, etc.) influence on self- and peer rating.

Participation in Healthcare Environment Engineering (PHEE)

This project is funded by funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It brings together healthcare with participatory design and built environment design. The multi-disciplinary team is delivering high-impact research to improve the user timeline of healthcare environments, through end user participation in design, engineering and decision making.

I led the work package: Digital Crowdsourcing in Healthcare Environment Co-design. This work package investigates the application and use of the co-design approach and crowdsourcing technology, in order to promote situated engagement of hospital staff in the appraisal and improvement of healthcare environments. This work follows a research through design approach where speculative prototypes are developed using methods from Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and from environment and service design, as a way of learning how to best deploy such digital co-design tools.

Motivational Gamification Strategies Rooted in Self-Determination Theory for Social Adaptive E-Learning

This project takes a systematic, theory-driven approach to social adaptive e-learning. It uses gamification as the carrier of understanding and applying the motivational benefits of the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in social adaptive e-learning. We propose motivational gamification strategies rooted in SDT for enhancing social adaptive e-learning. We demonstrate the implementation of these strategies, and explore students’ perception of these strategies, in an investigation in the UK, and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Strategies Toward Fulfilling the Autonomy Need

A1. A set of learning goals with clear descriptions and multiple paths to achieve each;
A2. Various interaction tools to complete a task;
A3. Clear, immediate and positive feedback for learning activities;
A4. Meaningful options with consequences;
A5. Customizable learning context that can be adjusted by students themselves.

Strategies Toward Fulfilling the Competence Need

C1. Reasonable small chunks of learning goals with increasing difficulty;
C2. Tasks with pleasantly surprising positive feedback;
C3. Multiple choices for advancing or retracing through the learning paths;
C4. Frequent decision-making, to keep the learning process moving forward;
C5. Enjoyable and fun learning activities.

Strategies Toward Fulfilling the Relatedness Need

R1. Opportunities to discover and join learning communities;
R2. Connections of interest and goals between students and communities;
R3. Various tools for interaction, collaboration, discussion and mutual assistance;
R4. Visualizations of social status, reputation and contribution;
R5. Supporting the display of appreciation to/of others (such as “like”).

The Critical Role of Profiles in Social E-Learning Design

Social Networking Sites (SNS) are web-based services that allow users to construct public or semi-public profiles within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. Diverse technical features have been implemented in SNS, but the backbone is always based on profiles for self-presenting, and the visible connections among users within the system. As a central component of SNS, the profile a user is constructing is the staging of oneself for a particular audience or a particular task, which influences SNS-based relationships and interactions among users.

Learning is intrinsically a social endeavour. The social facets of learning have been described in various theoretical frameworks to explain how people learn. A growing number of researchers have been working on facilitating e-learning environments by introducing a social dimension. For instance, there is a great deal of research on social interaction tools for e-learning, learning behaviour analysis and open social student modelling. The in-progress results have indicated that users tend to be more motivated towards contributing to creating effective learning environment and enriching learning experiences in SNS-based e-learning. Yet, further research needs to be performed to find the appropriate balance of features necessary in such environments.

While social interaction features drew on SNS have become widely accepted and heavily embedded in e-learning systems, not enough attention has been paid to what role learners’ profiles play in the use of social e-learning environments, which does not match the importance of profiles in SNS. This study, therefore, aims to fill this void by investigating learners’ perceived acceptance of the use of profile-related features in a social personalised adaptive e-learning environment (SPAEE).


Multifaceted Open Social Learner Modelling

Open social learner modelling (OSLM) approaches are promoted in order to assist learners in self-directed and self-determined learning in a social context. Still, most approaches only focus on visualising learners’ performance, or providing complex tools for social navigation. Our proposal, additionally, emphasises the importance of visualising both learners’ performance and their contribution to a learning community. We seek also to seamlessly integrate OSLM with learning contents, in order for the multifaceted OSLM’s prospect for ubiquity and context-awareness to enrich the adaptive potential of social e-learning systems.

We call the OSLM in Topolor ‘multifaceted’, because, firstly, a learner can access her model and her peers’ models ubiquitously, and Topolor adapts the visualisations to fit various contexts, corresponding to the hierarchy course pages, topic pages, resource pages and profile pages. Additionally, it provides various visualisation modes, e.g., comparison between individuals, to all other learners, etc. These modes of multi- context and multi-cohort comparisons require enhancements of both adaptivity and adaptability, and are expected to further promote metacognitive activities. Unlike existing systems providing a single complex view of OSLM with many criteria to manually select in order to adjust visualisations, we propose to adapt appropriate views of visualisations automatically, to potentially improve the system’s usability; and to visualise both learners’ performance and contribution, reflecting learners’ roles as both knowledge consumers and producer.


Towards Understanding Learning Behavior Patterns in Social Adaptive Personalized E-Learning Systems

Implicit user modeling has always long since played an important role in supporting personalized web-based e-learning environments and is increasingly important in other learning environments such as serious games. Its main concern is to unobtrusively and ubiquitously learn from a learner’s previous experiences and characteristics, in order to adapt the services to their personal needs. An empirical investigation for understanding learning behavior patterns forms the basis for establishing stronger implicit user modeling mechanisms and this study aims to get a better insight into types of learning behavior. The proposed usage of data mining and visualization elicited some interesting learning behavior patterns. We analyzed these from two perspectives: action frequency and action sequences, based on an expert-designed classification of behavior patterns that helped rank the various action categories according to significance from a user’s perspective.


Selected Publications

More papers on Google Scholar

  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, "Learners Thrive Using Multifaceted Open Social Learner Modeling". Volume 23, Issue 1, 2016, IEEE MultiMedia, IEEE.
  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, "Motivational Gamification Strategies Rooted in Self-Determination Theory for Social Adaptive E-Learning". The 13th Intelligent Tutoring Systems Conference (ITS). Zagreb, Croatia, 6-10 Jun 2016. Springer.
  • L. Shi, J. Mackrill, E. Dimitrokali, C. Dawson, R. Cain, "Digital Co-Design Applied to Healthcare Environments: A Comparative Study". The 15th IFIP TC.13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT). Bamberg, Germany, 14-18 Sep 2015. LNCS 9299, Springer.
  • L. Shi, J. Mackrill, E. Dimitrokali, R. Cain, "Digital Crowdsourcing in Healthcare Environment Co-design". The 24th International Conference on Information Systems Development (ISD). Harbin, China, 25-27 Aug 2015. AIS.
  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, C. Stewart, "Students as Customers: Participatory Design for Adaptive Web 3.0". The Evolution of the Internet in the Business Sector: Web 1.0 to Web 3.0. IGI Global, 2015 (Book Chapter).
  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, "Designing Visualisation and Interaction for Social E-Learning: A Case Study on Topolor 2". The 9th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL). Graz, Austria, 16-19 Sep 2014. LNCS 8719, Springer.
  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, S. Hadzidedic, "Multifaceted Open Social Learner Modelling". The 13th International Conference on Web-based Learning (ICWL). Tallinn, Estonia, 14-17 Aug 2014. LNCS 8613, Springer. Best Paper Award
  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, S. Hadzidedic, N. Dervishalidovic, "Contextual Gamification of Social Interaction – Towards Increasing Motivation in Social E-Learning". The 13th International Conference on Web-based Learning (ICWL). Tallinn, Estonia, 14-17 Aug 2014. LNCS 8613, Springer.
  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, "Making It Game-Like: Topolor 2 and Gamified Social E-Learning". The 22nd Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP). Aalborg, Denmark, 7-11 Jul 2014. Springer. Best Paper Award
  • L. Shi, D.A. Al-Qudah, A. Qaffas, A.I. Cristea, "To Build Light Gamification upon Social Interactions: Requirement Analysis for the Next Version of Topolor". The 6th York Doctoral Symposium on Computer Science (YDS). York, UK, 29 Oct 2013. York Computer Science (YCS). Best Paper Award
  • L. Shi, A.I. Cristea, M. Awan, C. Stewart, M. Hendrix, "Towards Understanding Learning Behavior Patterns in Social Adaptive Personalized E-Learning Systems". The 19th Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS). Chicago, Illinois, USA, 15-17 Aug 2013. AIS.
  • L. Shi, K. Stepanyan, D.A. Al-Qudah, A.I. Cristea, "Evaluation of Social Interaction Features in Topolor - A Social Personalized Adaptive E-Learning System". The 13th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT). Beijing, China, 15-18 Jul 2013. IEEE. Best Paper Award
  • L. Shi, G. Gkotsis, K. Stepanyan, D.A. Al-Qudah, A.I. Cristea, "Social Personalized Adaptive E-Learning Environment - Topolor: Implementation and Evaluation". The 16th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED). Memphis, Tennessee, USA, 9-13 Jul 2013. LNCS 7926, Springer.
  • L. Shi, D.A. Al-Qudah, A.I. Cristea, "Designing Social Personalized Adaptive E-Learning". The 18th ACM conference on Innovation and technology in computer science education (ITiCSE). Canterbury, UK, 1-3 Jul 2013. ACM.
  • L. Shi, D.A. Al-Qudah, A. Qaffas, A.I. Cristea, "Topolor: A Social Personalized Adaptive E-Learning System". The 21st Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP). Rome, Italy, 10-14 Jun 2013. LNCS 7899, Springer.


I am currently a teaching fellow and IT consultant at Warwick Business Scool, University of Warwick. I teach programming solutions, research and consult on technology-enhanced learning. In the past, I have worked in academia and industry, as research fellow, lecturer, project manager and software engineer. I have studied in UK's and China's top universities.

  • Present


    Teaching Fellow &
    Research Information Systems Consultant

    Warwick Business School
    University of Warwick

    Designing and developing eLearning platform: my.wbs.ac.uk; teaching undergraduate module: Programming Solutions (IB1370); research projects: Flipped Classroom, Peer Assessment

  • 09.2015


    Research Fellow

    Warwick Manufacturing Group
    University of Warwick

    Worked for an EPSRC-funded research programme in collaboration with NHS hospitals; led the work package of "Digital Crowdsourcing in Healthcare Environment Co-Design"; keywords: Participatory Design, Behavioural Analytics, User Studies, Crowdsourcing

  • 01.2015


    Research Fellow

    Department of Computer Science
    University of Warwick

    Won the IAS Early Career Fellowship from Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick; worked on Motivational Theories, Gamification Techniques, and Behavioural Analytics

  • 09.2014


    PhD Student
    Research & Teaching Assistant

    Department of Computer Science
    University of Warwick

    Worked for an EU-funded project in collaboration with 12 European institutes; taught MSc modules: Dynamic Web-Based Systems and Fundamentals of Relational Databases; contributed to funding application and student supervising; keywords: Adaptive Hypermedia, User Modelling, Behaviour Analytics, Data Visualisation

  • 09.2011


    Product Manager

    Vobile, Inc.

    Worked for a Video Content Identification Analytics and Management Platform; coordinating with the user timeline design team, development team, and testing team; keywords: Prototyping, PRD, Agile/Scrum

  • 09.2010


    Co-organiser & Lecturer

    Zhejiang University

    Taught BSc module: Interaction Design; keywords: Rich Internet Application (RIA), Adobe FlashBuilder, Flex/ActionScript

  • 08.2010


    Software Engineer

    Alibaba Group

    Developed an ERP Platform for SMEs which providing the following services: Financial Management, Purchasing & Supply Chain Management, Warehousing Management, Sales Management, and Customer Relationship Management Systems; techniques: Java, SQL, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, iBATIS, Velocity, EXT

  • 09.2009



    Zhejiang Sci-Tech University

    Taught undergrad module: Web Design Principles and Techniques; keywords: Colour Theory, Project Management, Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS, JavaScript

  • 03.2011


    MSc Student
    Research Assistant

    Department of Computer Science
    Zhejiang University

    Studied on an MSc programme: Digital Art and Design; research on Digital Information Product Deign; keywords: Human-Computer Interaction, Interface & Interaction Design, User Timeline Design, Advance Databases, Rich Internet Application (RIA), Adobe FlashBuilder, Flex/ActionScript, Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver


I am usually in Coventry, UK, if not travelling :)

Find Me

Warwick Business School
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK
+44 (0)24 765 22139