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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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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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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News Highlight

Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) – have joined forces to support leading scientists from Singapore and the United States in their multidisciplinary research into the science of learning. 

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News Highlight

A new Science of Learning Institute partnership will help caregivers support their children's early literacy through research-based museum exhibits and resources.

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News Highlight

SLI's Kelly Fisher and Susan Magsamen present at a SXSWedu conference as part of the panel discussion on translating research in early childhood education into practice across a variety of childhood settings.

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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

Why does brain stimulation combined with adaptive working memory...

This project examines whether the combination of electrical brain stimulation and cognitive training can improve cerebral efficiency and plasticity, while simultaneously testing a possible neurobiological mechanism for cognitive fatigue. Results will inform the design of interventions aimed at improving cognitive performance and learning capacity.

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How does learning impact neural networks in the primary visual...

How does learning impact neural networks in the primary visual cortex? This project will investigate learning effects at the neural network level by combining two-photon calcium imaging in animals learning an orientation discrimination task with a state-space analysis approach. Our proposal aims to identify a fundamental learning mechanism that leverages the power of large networks. Our results will help to define the scale at which learning effects need to be studied in the cortex.

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How does the brain control the processing of cooperating and...

How does the brain control the processing of different kinds of information that sometimes need to cooperate and sometimes need to compete, such as sensory information from the outside world versus abstract ideas and relationships? Bridging computational engineering methods, brain imaging techniques, and cognitive neuroscience, this study will test whether the strength of different interactions among multiple brain areas is related to how well an individual person is able to learn different kinds of information. Results will inform our understanding of the mechanisms behind how different parts of the brain communicate with each other. The results also may have implications for treating ADHD, autism, and other disorders with altered interactions between brain areas, and for designing educational methods tailored to the learning strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of typically developing individuals.

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Upcoming Events

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Our Experts

Dr. J Tilak Ratnanather

Associate Research Professor, Center for Imaging Science and Institute for Computational...

Dr. Mariale Hardiman

Professor & Vice Dean of Academic Affairs; Director of Neuro-Education Initiative

Bob Wiley

Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow

Susan Magsamen

Senior Advisor on Community Partnerships

Dr. Benjamin Van Durme

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

Dr. Janet DiPietro

Professor; Associate Dean fore Research and Faculty; Department of Population, Family, and...

Dr. Amy Shelton

Professor and Associate Dean for Research, School of Education

Dr. Ana Arenivas

Instructor, Department of Neuropsychology

Mr. Mike Alexander

Program Coordinator

Dr. Barbara Landau

Director, Science of Learning Institute and Dick and Lydia Todd Professor of Cognitive...

Aaron Steven White

Distinguished Science of Learning Fellow

Dr. David Andrews

Dean, School of Education

Dr. Steven Yantis (In Memoriam)

Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Marina Bedny

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Geraldine Legendre

Professor, Department of Cognitive Science

Dr. Lisa Feigenson

Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dr. Jin Kang

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

Dr. Gyusung Lee

Instructor, Department of Surgery