The Mission

The Science of Learning Institute seeks to understand and optimize the most essential part of our human capital: the ability to learn. The Institute supports interdisciplinary research, training, and outreach programs that will generate scientific discoveries and build meaningful connections between research, practice, and policy.

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Save the Date

Science of Learning Symposium:  January 11-12, 2016

Distinguished scientists and practitioners will highlight cutting edge research on human learning (including approaches from neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, computer science, engineering, and education) and pioneering pedagogical innovations. 

Generating New Ideas

Facilitating dialog and interaction across the divisions and schools of Johns Hopkins University is critical for generating new, interdisciplinary research in the science of learning and instilling a culture of collaboration. SLI's method for doing this is the Belgian Beer Event (BBE):  Several times during each year, faculty, research scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from across the university are invited to present their research and mingle in a casual, conversational atmosphere.  The locations of these community-building events vary across Johns Hopkins campuses in order to promote greater diversity in participation. 

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Understand learning at all levels of analysis

Our goal is to understand learning at all levels of analysis— from the molecular level of understanding how brain cells work, through the cognitive level of understanding how children and adults learn to speak and read, and through the level of the classroom where people experience formal learning opportunities.  

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Training the next generation of scientists

There is growing recognition that the next generation of scientists must think broadly about how we learn, be able to synthesize knowledge from multiple scientific perspectives, generate innovative, interdisciplinary research, and use these to bridge research, practice, and policy. Our training programs provide young scientists with opportunities to expand their knowledge of the science of learning and its applications to address real world issues.

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News Highlight

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology:  General, lead author Dr. Jonathan Flombaum found that although people can distinguish between millions of colors, we have trouble remembering specific shades because our brains tend to store what we've seen as one of just a few basic hues.

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Conducting Cutting-Edge Science of Learning Research.

Our grant programs generate new scientific discoveries about lifelong learning through interdisciplinary collaborations spanning basic and applied sciences.  

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Training Future Leaders in the Science of Learning.

We train scientists how to think broadly about learning, generate innovative perspectives and research on how we learn, and how to build meaningful connections between research, practice, and policy. 

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Connecting Science to Practice.

We collaborate with educators, practitioners, and policymakers to advance the understanding of science of learning research and translate research into meaningful, evidence-based practices, programs, and policies.

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Funded Research

Is the learning of letters affected by the modality of training...

Is the learning and long-term retention of letters affected by the modality of training experience— handwriting, typing, or visual? This fellowship integrates the perspectives of the cognitive neuroscientist, educational researcher, and classroom teacher. Both behavioral and neuroimaging methodologies will be used to address the same issues at both cognitive and neural levels of analysis. The results will address outstanding questions about the role of modality in literacy development by bringing to bear, for the first time, both neural and behavioral measures to a longitudinal design and generate findings that can be implemented in actual classroom settings to improve the learning of a new alphabet letters by second language learners.

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How do people learn words that express relationships between...

How do people learn words that express relationships between different types of objects? This project brings insights from machine learning, cognitive science, and linguistic theory to bear on a long-standing question in language learning: how words are learned. It does this by constructing explicit computer models of what is going on in a speaker’s mind when they are learning a word. Humans are much better than machines at understanding human language. This research aims to construct explicit models of language learning that will make computers better at understanding human language.

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Can brain stimulation improve the outcomes of a reading...

Can brain stimulation improve the outcomes of a reading comprehension training intervention in high-functioning individuals with autism? This fellowship project bridges education and cognitive neuroscience interventions to improve reading comprehension in individuals with autism. This project will inform the development of future literacy interventions and how they can better target the underlying neurobiology in autism.

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Recent News

SLI Researchers Selected to Co-Direct the New Kavli Neuroscience...

The Kavli Foundation and its university partners announced this morning the founding of three new neuroscience institutes, including one at Johns Hopkins. The new Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at The Johns Hopkins University, expected to launch in early 2016, will bring an interdisciplinary group of researchers together to investigate the workings of the brain.

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JHU researchers win ASpIRE Challenge

A team of JHU researchers are among those selected for the ASpIRE Challenge in speech recognition.

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SLI Researchers Receive Discovery Awards

Four SLI researchers have received Johns Hopkins University's new Discovery Awards to bridge medicine and engineering.

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Our Experts

Dr. Marshall Shuler

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Gary Goldstein

President/CEO, Kennedy Kreiger Institute; Professor, Depts. of Neurology & Pediatrics and...

Dr. Ed Connor

Professor, Department of Neuroscience; Director, Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute

Dr. Martin Lindquist

Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics

Kara Blacker

Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow

Dr. Anna Korzeniewska

Research Associate, Department of Neurology

Dr. David Foster

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Kristina Nielsen

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience; Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute

Dr. Fred Bronstein

Dean of the Peabody Institute

Dr. Noah Cowan

Associate Professor, Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering,...

Dr. Robert Lieberman (Chair)

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Tamar Mendelson

Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health

Dr. Benjamin Van Durme

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Center for Language and Speech...

Dr. Xiaoqin Wang

Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Director, Tsinghua-Johns Hopkins Joint Center...

Dr. Jin Kang

Jacob Suter Jammer Professor & Chair, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Dr. Anand Mattay

Investigator and Director of the Neuroimaging Core Facility at the Lieber Institute

Dr. Paul Smolensky

Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Cognitive Science

Dr. Sanjeev Khudanpur

Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering