Skip to Main Content
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
How People Learn II: The Science and Practice of Learning
Project Scope

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study and prepare a report that will update and extend the influential NRC report How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (2000) by reviewing and synthesizing research that has emerged across the various disciplines that focus on the study of learning from birth through adulthood in both formal and informal settings. Consideration will be given to the research and research approaches with greatest potential to influence practice and policy. The report should specify directions for strategic investments in research and development to promote the knowledge, training, and technologies that are needed to support learning in today's world.

To address its charge, the committee will review research on learning and learning contexts across the lifespan (specifically, infancy and early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, middle adulthood and older adulthood). The committee also will consider advances in such rapidly growing fields as cognitive neuroscience and learning technologies, as well as discoveries, innovations, and inventions in: education and education research; cognitive science; developmental cognitive neuroscience; cognition, learning, and memory; cognitive aging; the influence of culture on learning; language and linguistics to include supporting students learning English as a second language; social, emotional and motivational aspects of learning; learning in academic domains; learning disabilities; assessment (e.g., of learning, achievement, and performance in academic, cognitive, social, and affective domains); and research methodology ranging from basic research to implementation and dissemination science.

Attention will be given to methodological advances and designs that permit the integration of knowledge from multiple fields (e.g., network modeling, multi-level modeling, simulation modeling) and that enable study of the complexities of learning across various contexts (e.g., the interplay of micro and macro level learning and how teacher-learner interactions within specific curricula and approaches to pedagogy result in learning in domains over time).  The study will span approximately two years, with publication of the final report expected in fall 2018.

Sponsors: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, American Educational Research Association, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences/U.S. Department of Education, National Academy of Sciences' Kellogg Fund and Presidents' Circle Fund, Teagle Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Committee Members

Cora Bagley Marrett (Chair), University of Wisconsin-Madison
Patricia J. Bauer, Emory University
Cynthia Beall (NAS), Case Western Reserve
Margaret E. Beier, Rice University
David B. Daniel, James Madison University
Robert L. Goldstone, Indiana University
Arthur C. Graesser, University of Memphis
Ruth Kanfer, Georgia Institute of Technology
Jeffrey D. Karpicke, Purdue University
Barbara M. Means, SRI International
Douglas L. Medin (NAS), Northwestern University
Linda Nathan, Boston University
Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar, University of Michigan
Daniel L. Schwartz, Stanford University
Zewelanji N. Serpell, Virginia Commonwealth University
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, University of Southern California

Upcoming Events

Early 2017 - Report Briefing, once report is released (exact dates TBD).

Previous Events

January 19-20, 2016

October 29-30, 2015—This meeting included public sessions on October 29-30.  Agenda  |  Archived Webcast

August 3-4, 2015: This meeting will feature the Institute for Education Sciences’ perspectives regarding the study charge and their expectations of the consensus report as well as presentations by committee members, Dr. Robert Mislevy of the Educational Testing Service, and Dr. Kevin Crowley of the University of Pittsburg. The meeting will also include time for public comments. Agenda | Archived Webcast

June 9, 2015
Agenda  |  Archived Webcast

April 16, 2015
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) held an open forum symposium where National Research Council (NRC) staff, as well as members from the NRC committee that produced the original report, described the provisional charge for a revised and expanded study.  ► Read the full summary of the session

Related Report
How People Learn How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (2000)

This important report engages such topics as:

  • How learning actually changes the physical structure of the brain.
  • How existing knowledge affects what people notice and how they learn.
  • What the thought processes of experts tell us about how to teach.
  • The amazing learning potential of infants.
  • The relationship of classroom learning and everyday settings of community and workplace.
  • Learning needs and opportunities for teachers.
  • A realistic look at the role of technology in education.

The expanded edition makes connections between classroom activities and learning behavior through discussion of how theories and insights can translate into actions and practice.

Sujeeta Bhatt, Study Director
Tina Winters, Associate Program Officer
Renee L. Wilson, Senior Program Assistant

Barbara Wanchisen, Director, BBCSS
Heidi Schweingruber, Director, BOSE

Button Sign Up

BBCSS Home About BBCSS BBCSS History BBCSS Members BBCSS Staff Our Sponsors News and Events Upcoming Events BBCSS Update November 6, 2019 Our Work Overview Decadal Survey of Behavioral and Social Science Research on
Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias
Assessing the Minerva Research Initiative
and the Contribution of Social Science to Addressing Security Concerns
Consideration of Generational Issues in Workforce
Management and Employment Practices
Incorporating the Experimental Medicine Approach in the Development
of Primary Prevention Trials for Alzheimer's Disease: A Workshop
Leveraging Insights and Approaches from Social and Affective
Neuroscience to Promote Adaptive Aging: A Workshop
Mobile Technology for Adaptive Aging: A Workshop Reproducibility and Replicability in Science Social and Behavioral Sciences for National Security: A Decadal Survey Completed Projects Publications BBCSS Reports Report Briefs BBCSS Brochure Newsletter Archive Work With Us Our Study Process Study Process Brochure Getting to Know the Committee Process Overview for Sponsors Guide for Study Sponsors Donate Now