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See what courses you should be taking each semester in our Learning Sciences Core Course Map.

LSRI Core Course Map

Courses and Descriptions

Introduction to the Learning Sciences

LRSC 500
Course Description: 

This course examines current theoretical and empirical work on how people learn, particularly from the perspective of implications for instruction and the design of learning environments in formal and informal educational settings. We will consider research on learning in traditional academic domains (e.g., mathematics, science, literature, history) as well as everyday learning of children and adults. Using sociocultural, cognitive, and design-based research lenses, we will examine teaching and learning from multiple research perspectives, i.e. as the development of understandings, abilities, epistemologies, beliefs, roles and identities, and as individual, shared, and cultural processes. In the design of learning environments we will explore relationships among what is learned, how it is learned, and how learning is demonstrated. And we will look at possible roles for technology in supporting contemporary approaches to instruction, learning, and assessment. We will contrast the utility of the traditional distinction between basic and applied research with an interactive model in which research and practice mutually inform one another. This interactive model promotes research that is rooted in problems and issues that arise out of practice and the outcomes of which contribute to solutions to those problems as well as to theoretical formulations of learning and development.

Research Methods I

LRSC 501
Course Description: 

This course is focused on understanding the components of scientific arguments as they apply to the diverse research problems that characterize the Learning Sciences. It includes analysis of the components of a scientific argument, development of a research question, and the appropriateness of different research designs for approaching varying questions about learning and learners. Special consideration is given to: (a) understanding the interplay between the design process and the research process in the emergent field of “design experiments” and (b) the influence of micro and macro policy contexts on the framing and execution of research agendas on learning. The course establishes a familiarity with issues of Research Process – being about evidence, warrants, purposes, objectivity and subjectivity and narratives. It should expose students to relevant concepts, terminology, and a menu of methodologies, making them aware of the range of tools and types of data for a variety of approaches to research.

Foundations of Scientific Inquiry

LRSC 503
Course Description: 

The purpose of this course is to deepen students' understandings of the philosophical foundations of scientific inquiry and how such inquiry relates to teaching and learning processes when "inquiry methods" are used in classrooms. This course will explore the different meanings attached to the idea of inquiry teaching and learning, including how this varies by the age of the student. Since one of the reasons for inquiry is its possible relationship to authentic science, a consideration of how inquiry functions in the conduct of science and mathematical research will be included. Readings will include material on the concept and application of inquiry in thinking, research, teaching, and learning. The relationship of inquiry to knowledge growth and stabilization will be discussed. The course complements research methods courses as well as courses in teaching and learning theory. Major topics include: The Inquiry Universe; Inquiry in Science; Inquiry in the Classroom; Socializing Inquiry; Assessing Inquiry.

Analysis of Teaching and Learning Interactions

LRSC 511
Course Description: 

This course focuses on the analysis of data gathered for the purpose of studying learning processes. It focuses on the processes that occur between data gathering and the confirmation of findings – i.e., the processes of making sense of complex sets of data that have already been gathered. As such, issues of research design, data collection in the field, and the communication of research findings are backgrounded in this course. These issues are of course central to the process of analyzing data, but this course has a primary focus on the work of managing, re-representing, and becoming familiar with data during the analysis process. We focus on qualitative analyses (which of course do note exclude quantitative calculations). As such, the issue of establishing a theoretical framework is foregrounded in this course, to the extent that the framework is emergent in the data analysis. We use grounded theory as a primary lens for understanding the process of developing an emergent conceptual framework. Theoretical issues explored in this course will be considered in the context of actual ongoing analysis of data.

Design of Learning Environments

LRSC 512
Course Description: 

The design and evaluation of formal and informal learning environments from the perspectives of four lenses onto those environments: learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered. Environments range from formal schooling to after-school, home, and museum learning. Special emphasis on the role of technology within learning environments.

Change in Individuals and Organizations

LRSC 513
Course Description: 

This course examines the relationships between processes of individual learning and change and processes of organizational learning and change. The course focuses on theoretical and empirical work on core principles of change, including forms of leadership (e.g., centralized as compared to distributed), individuals as agents of change within organizations, organizational properties that foster or impede change (e.g., tolerance for risk-taking), and implications for innovation and sustainability of innovation. Of particular interest are organizational mechanisms that support individual change, and how these are sustained over time and changes in upper-levels of organizational management.

Journal Club (2-hour course)

LRSC 540
Course Description: 

This seminar provides a survey of current research in the Learning Sciences and related disciplines, and seeks to develop critical skills for reading, interpreting and contextualizing research articles. Weekly seminar meetings will focus on assigned articles from current journals in Learning Sciences-related fields. Also, over the course of the semester, the Learning Sciences Colloquium series will use this time lot for invited speakers, and a class meeting will discuss one or more of the speaker's published works.