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WPI’s Learning Sciences & Technologies Master's and Ph.D. program gives students and their teachers in K-12 schools the tools and techniques to make STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and English teaching more effective.

Our world-renowned faculty work collaboratively with WPI students to use a scientific and social approach that blends technology, psychology, cognition, and education practices to reach K-12 students in real classrooms and have them think about subjects in a new way. Our research identifies techniques that measure and reflect individual learning styles and help us understand how students learn, given various social, emotional, cultural, and scientific influences.

The revolution we seek is global—elevating U.S. students’ competitive edge in a connected world. Getting there requires applying what we understand about learning to transform the current U.S. educational system, classroom by classroom. 

For More Information: https://sites.google.com/view/wpi-lst

 

Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
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LS&T Course Information

Programmatic courses we recommend for 2021 academic year:

  • Fall 2021

    • CS568 Artificial Intelligence for Adaptive Educational Technology / Mon/Thurs from 4:00-5:20 (Dr. Neil Heffernan)

    • PSY504 Metacognition, Motivation, and Affect / Tues/Fri from 3:00-4:20 (Dr. Stacy Shaw)

    • MA511 Applied Statistics for Engineers and Scientists / Time TBD

    • A student can always petition the department for permission to satisfy the program requirements in alternative ways. For instance, we have had graduate students take CS1005 to learn Python and also do some extra project work applying writing a python program to reform learning science data sets. The program looks kindly upon students who want to challenge themselves by learning programming skills, and recognizes there are not many good "on-ramps" to CS courses. 

  • Spring 2021

    • CS534 Artificial Intelligence, Mondays / Wednesdays from 11:00 to 12:20 (Dr. Joseph Beck)

    • CS541 Deep Learning, Mondays / Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:20 (Dr. Jacob Whitehill)

    • CS567 Empirical Methods For Human-Centered Computing, Tuesdays from 6:00 to 8:50 (Dr. Joseph Beck) 

    • SS590 Learning & Creativity, Wednesdays 4:00 to 6:50 (Dr. Stacy Shaw)

Additional Courses of Interest for LST Students

  • Spring 2021

    • CS 525 SPECIAL TOPICS: Brain-Computer Interaction (Dr. Erin Solovey)

    • CS 525 SPECIAL TOPICS: Predicting Human Decisions (Dr. Daniel Reichman)

    • NEU 590 Analysis of Neural Data (Dr. Ali Yousefi) 

New LS&T Faculty

Stacy Shaw

I am a recent Ph.D. graduate of the psychology program at UCLA where I worked with Gerardo Ramirez and Jim Stigler. I am an NSF GRFP recipient, an Ambassador for the Center for Open Science, Catalyst for the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences, and past President of Psychology In Action. I am also a part of the Better Book research team for the Coursekata project. Before arriving at UCLA, I worked as a professional educational evaluator and worked behind the scenes on large-scale surveys for the National Center for Education Statistics.

Stacy joined WPI in July of 2020 as Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences & Policy Studies Department along with the Learning Sciences and Technologies program. Stacy's personal website is here.

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Stacy Shaw  alt
Stacy Shaw

 

Adam Sales

Dr. Adam Sales in an assistant professor of statistics in the Mathematical Sciences department at WPI. He received his Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and completed a post-doc in interdisciplinary education research at Carnegie Mellon University and the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA. Before coming to WPI, Dr. Sales directed the Office of Statistical Consulting at the University of Texas College of Eduction in Austin. The focus of his research is to develop statistical methods that use machine learning and/or measurement models to incorporate administrative or computer log data into classical and Bayesian causal estimators. 

Adam joined us at WPI in July 2020 as an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department along with the Learning Sciences and Technologies program. More about Adam here.

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Adam Sales

 

STEM FOR ALL VIDEO SHOWCASE: RESEARCH & DESIGN FOR IMPACT

171 NSF and other Federally funded projects share three-minute videos of their innovative work to improve STEM and CS teaching and learning. During the week of May 15th - May 22nd, we invite you to:

  • Browse short videos highlighting 171 STEM education initiatives. Use the filters to find those of interest.
  • Join the conversation by posting to the discussion related to each video that you view.
  • Vote for your favorite videos by casting a Public Choice Vote. Spread the word!

Stem for All website: http://stemforall2017.videohall.com/. Professors Arroyo's and Ottmar's showcased videos:

Media Coverage

Boston 25 reported that WPI is getting an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to scale up ASSISTments, a middle-school math assessment tool. ASSISTments was created by Neil Heffernan, the William Smith Dean Professor of Computer Science and the director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies Program at WPI, and his wife, Cristina Heffernan.

Computer science professor Neil Heffernan’s opinion piece in the Hechinger Report takes a look at the need for new technology and evidence-based instructional practices, such as online homework tools, to address inequities in our public school system.

News

WPI researchers (from left) Hannah Smith, Francisco Castro, Olivia Bogs, Gillian Smith, Ivon Arroyo, Erin Ottmar, Richard Valente and Luisa Perez. alt
WPI researchers (from left) Hannah Smith, Francisco Castro, Olivia Bogs, Gillian Smith, Ivon Arroyo, Erin Ottmar, Richard Valente and Luisa Perez.
December 05, 2019
From left, Erin Ottmar, assistant professor of learning sciences and psychology; and Jenny Yun-Chen Chan and Katharine Sawrey, post-doctoral fellows in learning sciences and technology. alt
From left, Erin Ottmar, assistant professor of learning sciences and psychology; and Jenny Yun-Chen Chan and Katharine Sawrey, post-doctoral fellows in learning sciences and technology.
November 20, 2019
ASSISTments creators Cristina and Neil Heffernan alt
ASSISTments creators Cristina and Neil Heffernan
October 21, 2019

Announcements

November 17, 2021
Advancement
August 26, 2021
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
May 06, 2021
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
February 09, 2021
School of Arts & Sciences
Manasi
Alumni Success Story

Manasi Vartak '10

Manasi Vartak '10 founded Verta to help companies build AI-enabled products faster than ever.

Avery Harrsion, featured alumni in WPI Journal

Insider: Avery Harrison ’19

Avery Harrison has an MS in LS&T in ’19, and is on a track to a PhD in ’22. Learn about her journey in the WPI Journal’s Insider page.

Efficacy Study Results - Immediate Feedback with ASSISTments Improves Learning

ASSISTments

ASSISTments a free web-based intelligent tutoring system was developed by a team led by Neil Heffernan, director of WPI’s Learning Sciences & Technologies program. This innovative technology uses many approaches to help students learn and help teachers assess student progress. A recent four-year study showed that completing mathematics homework using ASSISTments improved learning by 75 percent over normal gains. The study, by SRI International, was conducted with 7th and 8th grade students in Maine. Watch this video or read more to learn how this technology improved learning outcomes.

Learn Graspable Math

See How Graspable Math Works

Professor Erin Ottmar helped create Graspable Math, an online tool to help researchers understand how children learn about math. With that new understanding, researchers can help educators teach math in a way that will be more useful and efficient for everyone in the classroom. Students can explore their genuine curiosity, even learning to play with math equations, while gaining flexibility in their thinking about math. Watch this video to hear Professor Ottmar explain how her research improves learning.

ivon

Ivon Arroyo Researches Big Data, Intelligent Tutoring

Professor Ivon Arroyo’s well-funded, pioneering research uses technology to improve learning outcomes. Whether it’s with the NSF’s “Big Data Spokes” project or her work with the intelligent tutoring product MathSpring, Arroyo investigates the transformations that take place when education, technology, and a human angle align.

learning sciences

Students Immerse Themselves in LS&T Research

Alongside an interdisciplinary and collaborative team of WPI professors and K-12 teachers, WPI graduate students immerse themselves in real classrooms while using the latest technology and methods to gather and interpret data. With that insight, they develop and test techniques to foster increased subject interest, better learning, and effective teaching.

Facts and Figures

13:1

students-to-faculty ratio 

#6

best career placement

The Princeton Review (2019)
$17.9M

National Science Foundation Research awards

(FY2020)
Neil Heffernan
Neil Heffernan
Ivon Arroyo
Ivon Arroyo
Erin Ottmar
Erin Ottmar
J. Whitehill

Faculty in LS&T merge cutting-edge technology with real human response to improve teaching and learning outcomes. Our professors investigate everything from building wearable devices so children can create and play augmented reality math games to using software to challenge how children think about math problems. The department’s well-funded research is constant and always evolving to provide excellent opportunities for students to perform hands-on, transformative scientific inquiry. 

Neil Heffernan
Ivon Arroyo
Erin Ottmar
Joseph Beck
Jacob Whitehill

Career Outlook

The rapidly growing educational technology field is looking for employees with the kind of technical and real classroom experience WPI graduates have. Students often move into consulting or academic roles or launch entrepreneurial start-ups.