Better, Faster, Stronger: How Learning Engineering Aims to Transform Education

“Improvement in post-secondary education will require converting teaching from a solo sport to a community-based research activity.”
—Herbert Simon

Foundations

This work has retro roots in theories developed in the 1960s. The term "learning engineering" was coined by Herbert Simon, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who won the Nobel Prize for economics and believed that a new kind of professionalism and science-based approach should be applied to learning.

“Every course should be better every time it’s taught. It’s totally within our capability to do it.”
—David Wiley

Tools

Only in the last few years have the digital platforms emerged that can measure and improve teaching at scale. Thanks to learning management systems and artificial intelligence-based tools, learning engineers can now try ideas that were once theoretical.

“From a teaching and learning perspective, this is a Golden Age. ... We know more about how people learn than we ever have in the past.”
—Matthew Rascoff

Research

Meanwhile, scientists continue to advance understanding of how the human brain learns. Designing teaching to work best for learners promises to make what happens in classrooms more effective.

“Education is a wicked problem. … If you try to achieve one goal, you end up doing worse for another goal.”
—Ashok Goel

These stories are supported by a grant from Schmidt Futures, which had no influence over the content of the articles. (Read our ethics statement here.)

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