Utilizing Principles from the Science of Learning in Higher Education

Well over a century of research has investigated basic processes that underlie human learning. Although such work in the science of learning has yielded a number of generalizable principles, there remain impediments to their effective implementation in educational settings. For instance, many evidence-based strategies are not intuitive. Consequently, students are frequently unaware when they are engaging in ineffective learning strategies and instructors may similarly support and implement ineffective learning strategies.

Demographics are Not Destiny: Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap

One of the most pressing challenges in higher education is the large gap in graduation rates that persists between college students from different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Georgia State University has engaged in a multi-faceted effort to use data and analytics to create an institution at which students from all backgrounds succeed at comparable and high rates.

Finding Complementarity: Using the Capabilities of MOOCs on Campus

All MIT undergraduates take two semesters of physics—mechanics (Physics I) and electricity and magnetism (Physics II).  Those two courses had undergone substantial transformation in the early 2000s from lecture/recitation to active learning, so that they were being taught in a blended or hybrid learning model.  Then, in 2012, an instructional team, including physics faculty, instructors, graduate students and developers, created two MOOCs from Physics I and Physics II.

The Law of Amplification: Why Digital Tools Do Not Solve Systemic Educational Problems

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, emerged a few years ago with promises to provide affordable college education for everyone. Recent studies show, however, that MOOCs are typically completed by college-educated, employed professionals, not jobless high-school dropouts. In other words, in direct contradiction to earlier claims, MOOCs not only fail to close learning divides, their dissemination arguably contributes to greater educational inequality.

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