MITili News


'Spotify for learning games' coming to classrooms

Legends of Learning uses a drag-and-drop web platform that allows teachers to create 'playlists' of games. The content currently consists of over 500 titles for middle school science, with more subjects to follow.


MIT President using research power to study how people learn

After just six months as president, Reif launched the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. This led to the creation of several new initiatives including the Office of Digital Learning, the pK-12 Action Group, and the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative.

The case for modernizing corporate learning

The tools that many companies use to help develop employee skills are often low tech or wrong tech. New technologies can help transform corporate learning to make employees more successful.

Kindergartners learning more than in past years

A research study published in Educational Research shows that today's kindergartners are learning much more than their predecessors including valuable math and social skills.

Learning and development in the remote workplace

Traditional e-learning must evolve into distance-based collaborative learning with the right content, instructors, and technology to ensure remote workers have what they need to succeed on the job.


Institutions tap student-level data to improve learning

Campuses across the country are turning student data into actionable information and tools that improve student decisions and outcomes.


MIT recognizes three professors with 2017 MacVicar Fellows

Maria Yang, Caspar Hare, and Scott Hughes have been named 2017 MacVicar Fellows, MIT's highest undergraduate teaching award. The award recognizes their exceptional undergraduate teaching, mentoring, and educational innovation.


Providing educators with "teachable moments" concerning unconscious bias

MIT Teaching Systems Lab (TSL) Executive Director Justin Reich awarded a grant from Google for teacher-facing intervention research. Researchers at the TSL are developing a promising new line of inquiry - a simulation-based teacher education technique designed to address unconscious bias.


A new technology is fundamentally changing learning

Blended reality combines the physical and digital with augmented reality that takes sensory inputs - sounds, scents, sites and haptic or "touch" feedback - to blur the lines between the real and virtual worlds.

There's a better way to measure workplace learning success

Harvard Business Review says that using a 'cost per employed day' method better measures success by measuring added productivity and profitability of employees once they have completed training.

In learning, every moment counts

Motivation can be a fickle thing - if we are motivated, we can achieve a great deal, but if motivation is lacking, we are easily overwhelmed.

How much should we spend on learning research and development?

Are resources spent advancing the practice in teaching and learning good investments in terms of institutional differentiation?


More than two hours of TV daily affects children's school readiness, study finds

The association between television viewing and a child's math and executive functioning skills was highest for children in families at or below the $21,200 annual income level, which was the poverty line at the time the data was collected.


Digital learning is here - kind of

As technology and content change, so have the expectations of employees. New research shows that employees have on average 20 minutes per week to learn, some complaining that even TED Talks are too long.


In Finland, kids learn computer science without computers

Coding and programming are now part of the curriculum in the Scandinavian country, and they're subjects kids tackle from a young age. They look to show students why understanding how technology works is relevant to their lives.


Want to know what your brain does when it hears a question?

Quick, what color is your house? Questions can hijack your brain. The moment you hear one, you literally can't think of anything else. And that can be a powerful tool.


Artificial intelligence has a new job: setting a good example for your kids

Researchers found children's behavior can be influenced by the personality of a robot companion-playing with an enthusiastic attentive robot, for instance, made them engage more and work harder.


Reimagining education: MIT holds its first Festival of Learning

MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart deemed the festival an important gathering of scholars and researchers working to reimagine the way we educate 21st century students-from digital content creation, to flipped or blended classrooms, to cracking the learning sciences code.


MIT's Laura Schulz provides a glimpse into the future of early childhood education research

On Thursday, Associate Professor Schulz spoke to the MITili team on the MIT campus about her vision of what MITili can do to transform learning effectiveness at the early childhood level. Her ambitions include a learning lab dedicated to providing practitioners of early childhood education with a space for experimental design to develop best practices.

Learning tailored for iPad generation

Replace the chalk and slate of the Victorian classroom with an iPad and the single answer with thousands of data points measuring each pupil response and you get a sense of how classroom practice is changing.


MIT receives grant from American Association of Universities for undergraduate STEM education

The grant is part of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative to encourage universities to use teaching practices in STEM education that have been proven to be effective in engaging students and helping them learn.


Post learning naps may help preschoolers retain information

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that three-year olds who took a nap after learning new verbs had a better understanding of the words when tested 24 hours later.


CLOs, move from conduit to curator

Reskilling the workforce requires a shift in mindset. CLOs will need to embrace content curation and move away from being conduits for organization learning.

Physicists make the case that our brains' learning is controlled by entropy

How do our brains store what's important? It turns out it could be the same laws that govern the formation of stars and the evolution of the Universe.


How modern learning and development professionals are tackling top challenges

"Modern learners are demanding more modern formats for learning," says a report published by LinkedIn. Implicit in this statement is the fundamental need for effectiveness at the learning-learner interface. MITili's mission includes the scientifically rigorous study of what captures and holds the motivation and attention of learners.


The evolution of corporate learning

Online and mobile platforms are revolutionizing traditional workplace learning. Seventy-seven percent of US companies now offer online learning solutions to improve employee performance.


Enzyme key to learning in fruit flies

In a just-published paper in the journal Cell Reports, a team of scientists from the University of California, Riverside have begun to unravel the mysteries of synapses in learning.


Personalized learning gets boost from federal reviewers

While personalized learning via ed-tech products has a long way to go, Bill Gates urges continued investment and teacher engagement in product design and testing.

MITili Director Dr. John Gabrieili Speaks at LearnLaunch Boston

Dr. John Gabrieli, MITili Director and Grover Hermann Professor of Health Science and Technology and Cognitive Research at MIT, spoke to education professionals at the LearnLaunch Conference - Across Boundaries: From Digitizing Past Practice to Personalized Learning.


Making learning practical for small business owners

Finding time for training courses can be difficult, especially for those running or working in small and medium-sized enterprises. An innovative learning module could be the solution.


MIT Office of Digital Learning Announces Across Boundaries Conference Co-sponsored with LearnLaunch Institute

Across Boundaries Conference will be held on February 2-3 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Join MITili Director and keynote speaker, John Gabrieli, as he discusses neuroscience and the formation of memory.


Adaptive learning methods could close the trained worker skills gap

Past failures and early models in e-learning have left many organizations with mixed emotions about mass-produced learning. Adaptive learning, which closely matches the way individuals learn, can be both highly efficient and more engaging for learners.


How to overcome a learning disaster in the workplace

Sometimes learning and development programs in the workplace aren't as successful as hoped. Read about ways you can turn potential disaster into learning opportunities.


MIT senior leads diverse projects to help women and students in developing countries

Among Jiwon Park's many projects was her creation and delivery of a curriculum based on the Scratch coding platform developed at MIT to high school students in the Philippines.


Study finds that completing a 10-minute activity at the beginning of a MOOC can lead to significantly improved outcomes

Assuring learners from less developed countries that they belong and encouraging them to share their core values can help them succeed in online courses, researchers at MIT and Stanford University have found.


Learning the Singapore way

Singapore's climb to the top of the global education rankings has put the spotlight on how an education system that had been seen as somewhat too competitive, stessful and exam-oriented has evolved into one of the best in the world.


U.S. Department of Education launches supplement to technology plan focused on higher education

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Education launched a supplement to the 2016 National Education Technology Plan (NETP) focusing on technology in higher education. They recently stopped by MIT to discuss the report.


Study of MOOCs offers insights into online learner engagement and behavior

A new report, based on four years of data from edX, represents one of the largest surveys of massive open online courses to date. The joint research team from MIT and Harvard explored 290 online courses, a quarter-million certifications, 4.5 million participants, and 28 million participant-hours.


What employers can do to encourage their workers to retrain - companies are embracing learning as a core skill

MIT has launched an initiative to conduct interdisciplinary research into the mechanics of learning and to apply the conclusions to its own teaching, both online and offline.


Struggling Schools Benefit From Adding Arts to Learning

Areonne Howard, of the ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy uses "Hamilton" to help teach History. "It triggers their listening skills, too, and their writing skills, because they're going to write their own," says Howard who uses "Hamilton" as a model for developing debate skills in rap battle form.


A glimpse into the workings of the baby brain

MIT neuroscientists have adapted their MRI scanner to make it easier to scan infants' brains as the babies watch movies featuring different types of visual input. Using the data, the team found that in some ways, the organization of infants' brains is surprisingly similar to that of adults.


MITili Transformative Research Update

MITili is engaging with MIT faculty on "transformative research"-that is, research that faculty would undertake to address big learning questions in the absence of resource constraints. MITili has initiated a series of faculty conversations in which these transformative research ideas are shared and discussed.

MITili Director, Dr. John Gabrieli presented his vision in November and Deputy Director, Parag Pathak addressed MIT faculty in December.


A new look at substitute teaching

What if we brought in a musician or farmer instead of a worksheet when a teacher was out for the day? In most cases with a substitute teacher, very little learning takes place. Bringing in specialists can help kids find a niche.


What Warren Buffett and Ann Graybiel Advise On Habits

Ann Graybiel, MIT professor and director of the Graybiel Lab, says that it's never too late to change habits or to make new ones. Unfortunately, the older we get, the less time we have to devote to changing or breaking habits.


Schools Are Seeing Results with Hybrid Learning

"Hybrid learning essentially encourages teachers to implement stations in their classrooms, but there's a lot of flexibility," explains intermediate and middle-school Principal Jon Horton.


Distinctive Brain Pattern May Underlie Dyslexia

A distinct neural signature found in the brains of people with dyslexia may explain why these individuals have difficulty learning to read, according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists.


Teaching Computer Programming Through Making in Oakland's Fruitvale

Making computer programming a part of the K-12 curriculum is becoming a rallying call in the United States. But just because you teach a subject doesn't mean you get kids interested. Google teamed up with MIT's Media Lab to create the Code Next curriculum.

Brain Science and Education: How Much Should Teachers Know

Whole Brain Teaching involves techniques such as assigning arm gestures to instructional content to engage students' motor cortex, or call and response phrases that grab attention and tap into students' prefrontal cortex - specifically designed to tickle different parts of the brain while learning.


The 2016 Toy Buying Guide For Kids Learning How To Code

LEGO Mindstorms EV3, co-created by MIT's Mitch Resnick, is included in this year's list of top toys to help kids learn how to code.


Pearson Bets One Small Step for Research Is a Leap for Learning Design

Pearson Education did something it's never done before. This week the London-based publishing and assessment giant released a set of learning design principles that anyone can use to develop edtech products.


Companies are complaining about the skills gap. Here's how we get closer to solving it.

"We are not close to meeting the critical demands of today's learners, employees and employers," says Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX. Educational institutions are struggling to keep pace in the face of escalating marketplace changes and companies cannot train workers fast enough or cost-effectively enough to grow and remain competitive.


Helping Children Achieve More In School

Study shows learning strategies are key to academic achievement and describe behavioral interventions that could reverse underachievement.


Here's why you shouldn't multitask, according to MIT Neuroscientist Earl Miller

According to Dr. Miller, multitasking ruins productivty, causes mistakes, and impedes creative thought. As humans, we have a very limited capacity for simultaneous thought - we can only hold a little bit of information in the mind at any single moment.

Li-Huei Tsai receives Society for Neuroscience Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award

Tsai's laboratory studies the brain from the genes to higher order cognition such as learning and memory as well as brain disorders sucha as Alzheimer's disease. The Mika Salpeter Award recognizes an individual neuroscientist with distinguished achievements in neuroscience that actively promotes the advancement of women in neuroscience.

Six Potential Brain Benefits of Bilingual Education

Brains, brains, brains. One thing we've learned at NPR Ed is that people are fasciniated by brain research. And yet it can be hard to point to places where our education system is really making use of the latest neuroscience findings. But there is one happy nexus where research is meeting practice: bilingual education.

NPR Education author Anya Kamenetz spoke with 7 researchers to highlight 6 areas beyond the second language acquisition where dual-language instruction leads to educational gains.

Enhancing Education from pre-K to MIT and Beyond

To improve education - whether pK-12, college, professional training, or online courses - one must first gain an understanding of how people learn. Applying that learning on a large scale requires a forward-thinking focus on expanding the reach of high-quality education for learners of all ages, all across the globe. MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) and the pK-12 Action Group meet these challenges head on.


Lauren Uhr: A Brain Researcher Motivated by Personal Experience

MIT senior, Lauren Uhr, studies cognitive science and medicine from the vantage point of a person with dyslexia. "I was frustrated that no one really knew, and no one could explain clearly, what was happening in my brain and how to fix it," said Uhr.


Teaching Hong Kong students to embrace computational thinking

Powered by MIT expertise and regional universities, CoolThink@JC will offer training to primary teachers and students at 32 schools. Hal Abelson, the Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and a member of CSAIL says "An experiment at this scale will be a real-life laboratory for technology-enriched primary, not just a small demonstration."

Schools That Work

Charter schools - public schools that operate outside the normal system - have become a quarrelsome subject, of course, alternately hailed as saviors and criticized as an overrated fad. Away from the fights, however, social scientists have quietly spent years analyzing the outcomes of students who attend charter schools.

Earl Miller receives Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience

On Monday, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation announced the winners of their annual awards on outstanding achievements in psychiatric research. Earl Miller, Picower Professor of Neuroscience, received the Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Yidan Prize for Education Research and Education Development announced at MIT

MIT was the first stop on a world tour for the Yidan Prize Foundation's launch of a new $3.9 million education award.

The Office of Digital Learning recently hosted Charles Chen Yidan of Hong Kong, founder of the Yidan Prize Foundation. Mr. Yidan met with Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma and MIT faculty members John Gabrieli, Parag Pathak, Angela Belcher, and Eric Klopfer, as well as several representatives from the Office of Digital Learning. Chen and colleagues shared news of the prize and listened to faculty presentations on the forward-thinking work MIT is doing in the field of education, in such initiatives as the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) and the pK-12 Action Group.

What if your kids were stuck in a poorly performing school?

It may seem like a strange recommendation: Ignorance as an aid to thoughtful analysis. But as you contemplate Question 2, which would allow a dozen more charter schools each year in Massachusetts regardless of current caps, try donning a veil of ignorance for a minute or two.

Inspiring the next generation of Scientists and Engineers

First-of-its-kind, Boston STEM Week inspires Middle School students by transforming classrooms into Learning Labs. The goal is simple: gaining confidence for students in Science and Engineering

Making smarter decisions about classroom technologies

How does a teacher or administrator decide which technology is a good fit for their classroom? MIT Researchers have launched a new decision-making tool for teachers, administrators, governments, global development practitioners, and other stakeholders trying to make smart decisions about incorporating technology in the classroom.

Automated screening for childhood communication disorders

Computer system could help identify subtle speech, language disorders in time for early intervention

For children with speech and language disorders, early-childhood intervention can make a great difference in their later academic and social success. But many such children-one study estimates 60 percent-go undiagnosed until kindergarten or even later.

A new way to measure the impact of charter schools

Do charter schools improve their students' test scores and later life outcomes?

This can be a tough question to answer because even when charter school students succeed, it's not always clear that the charter school is what's responsible. Most researchers have studied results from charter school admission lotteries, but critics worry that these studies don't tell us anything about how the vast number of students who don't wind up in admission lotteries would do in charter schools.

Attention Please: Earl Miller Wants to Make Us All Smarter

MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller has changed the way we think about working memory - the brain's scratchpad.

Miller's biggest contributions to the field of neroscience over the past 20 years have explored how the brain is able to adapt to changing rules and environments so quickly and seamlessly.

Inaugural MIT Integrated Learning Initiative Retreat Kicks Off MIT's Initiative to Accelerate Learning

Members of the newly formed MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) convened Friday in Dedham MA to initiate research and development concepts that will create and foster better learning methods from the pK-12 level to higher education and continued educational development.  The meeting was led by Dr. Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning at MIT's Office of Digital Learning.

Dr. John Gabrieli, who serves as the director of MITili, spoke about the research his lab has conducted on how the brain works and how that relates to our ability to learn.

New initiatives accelerate learning and research and its applications

MIT President L. Rafael Reif announced today a significant expansion of the Institute's programs in learning research and online and digital education

The initiatives will include pre-kindergarten through residential higher education and lifelong learning, which will fulfill a number of recommendations made in 2014 by the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education.