From Practices to Theories and Back: How the Learning Sciences Responds to Educational Contexts
Join us for the Robert and Augusta P. Finkelstein Memorial Lecture with Susan A. Yoon, PhD.
The learning sciences is a relatively new field of research in education that began in the late 80s. It is an interdisciplinary field consisting of researchers who study among other things, diversity, equity, and inclusion, cognition, domain learning, engagement, anthropological and sociological perspectives, computer science, and educational psychology. Learning scientists study learning as it happens in real-world contexts and design resources and environments to improve learning in those contexts through an iterative process of theory construction, design, implementation, and assessment. This can happen in schools, in informal places, at work, and online. Although the learning sciences is continually evolving, what remains true of the tenets of this educational field is that learning happens through mediated processes that most often require collaboration with others whereby learning is inextricably linked to context and culture. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the historical underpinnings of the field, how it is evolving, and current goals and challenges in learning sciences research. I will also offer examples from research and practice that illustrates how our work is applied and responds to critical issues we are collectively facing in society.
The Q&A will be moderated by Xiao-Lei Wang, PhD, dean of The Ruth S. Ammon College of Education and Health Sciences and the event is sponsored by the Robert and Augusta P. Finkelstein Memorial endowment.
About the Speaker
Susan A. Yoon, PhD
Dr. Susan Yoon is Professor of Education in the Learning Sciences and Chair of the Teaching Learning and Leadership Division at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania. For over two decades, she has constructed curricular and instructional experiences for students and teachers to improve learning and participation in formal and informal environments. She has expertise in multiple learning sciences areas including complex systems theory and applications, design and implementation of technological supports for immersion and visualization of scientific content, e.g., augmented reality and agent-based simulations, reasoning with socioscientific issues, online learning, and social capital and teacher professional development. The central goals that run throughout her research are:
- revealing the hidden informational structures in systems that make learning scientific concepts challenging;
- understanding what works for whom and under what conditions to support learning and participation success for all;
- investigating the affordances of emerging technological tools and applications to support science learning and instruction; and
- how best to support teachers as first adopters of these emerging technologies.
She has participated in numerous leadership activities within the International Society of the Learning Sciences including serving on the Board of Directors from 2013 to 2019 and serving as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Learning Sciences from 2017 to 2020. She was also named as a Fellow of the society in 2019.