We are evolving the learning landscape:
The UChicago Science of Learning Center (UChicago SLC) bring researchers and practitioners together with the ambition of enhancing research and learning outcomes.
The Center’s mission is to:
- Support robust lifelong learning for all students. To contribute to the understanding of the principles and practices that support learning from the earliest ages in formal and informal leaning environments, with a focus on enhancing learning among at-risk populations that often underachieve in traditional settings.
- Develop research shaped by practice, practice shaped by research. To create a model of researcher-practitioner interaction that leads to a feedback loop that enhances research and practice.
- Translate research into meaningful solutions. To engineer basic research findings to create learning tools that are usable and useful in real world learning environments.
- Design effective educational outreach. To support and advise researchers in the design of effective educational outreach efforts associated with funded research.
We develop the learner:
- Developing Interventions Our strategy is to create promising interventions through an interdisciplinary approach that brings basic researchers, educational engineers, and practitioners together to work on pressing learning issues. By engaging in an iterative cycle of development we are well-positioned to improve instruction and learning outcomes, while also raising new and important scientific questions. Our ability to do this kind of collaborative work, and to move smoothly between the laboratory and the classroom, is made possible by well-established partnerships with schools, museums, and other educational institutions.
- Developing Curricula Together with colleagues at the Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE) at the University, we are developing new lessons that incorporate learning principles supported by research in cognitive science, and testing their effectiveness. These kinds of collaborations provide a way to move re- search findings into real world learning environments and positively impact the STEM learning trajectories of children.
- Developing Assessment-Instruction Systems Through our collaboration with the Urban Education Institute at the University, we are extending and broadening the Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress (STEP) assessment by creating formative literacy and math assessments for preschool children. By using these assessments, teachers gain knowledge about individual students’ strengths and weaknesses, which allows them to tailor instruction to students’ current understandings, helping them advance along established learning paths. Critically, we are not only studying how these assessments change children’s learning trajectories but also how they change teachers’ practice.
- Sharing Findings with Practitioners UChicago SLC will collaborate with child policy experts at the University to communicate its research findings to policymakers and the public in order to promote children’s learning in critical environments—the home and the school. We also work with U of C faculty to design effective educational outreach efforts associated with their research. The end result is an integrated model for education research and practice where parent and classroom practices inform educational research and where experimentally validated research findings inform educational practice and policy.