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.


Programmatic courses we recommend for the 2019-2020 academic year:

  • Fall, 2019:
    • SS 590 Causal Inference on Wednesday 4-6:50 (Kooken) see syllabus here
    • CS 566 / SEME 566 Graphical Models Thursdays 6-8:50 (Beck) 
    • CS 525 Des & Anal Lg Online Exp Wednesdays 6-8:50 (Harrison)
  • Spring, 2020:
    • CS565 User Modeling Tuesday / Thursday 4-5:20 (Heffernan)
    • CS541 Deep Learning Monday / Wednesday 4-5:20 (Whitehill)
    • CS546 Human-Computer Interaction Tuesday / Friday 1-2:50 (Smith) 
    • PSY 501 Foundations of the Learning Sciences Mondays 4-6:50 (Ottmar)
    • PSY 590 ST: Path Analysis E&L Modeling Wednesdays 5:30 - 8:20 (Kooken)


Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD


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.

Boston 25

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.

The Hechinger Report Logo


From left, Erin Ottmar, assistant professor of learning sciences and psychology; and Jenny Yun-Chen Chang 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 Chang 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
ASSISTments creators Cristina and Neil Heffernan are working with Jacob Whitehill (right) and colleagues at Lesley University to develop a teacher feedback tool. alt
ASSISTments creators Cristina and Neil Heffernan are working with Jacob Whitehill (right) and colleagues at Lesley University to develop a teacher feedback tool.
October 03, 2018
Jacob Whitehill alt
Jacob Whitehill, assistant professor of computer science, hopes his artificial intelligence platform will help teachers boost their skills and improve their interactions with students.
September 06, 2018
Professor Erin Ottmar WPI alt
Professor Erin Ottmar (seated, in red) meets with her team from the Educational Psychology and Mathematics Learning Lab, which includes graduate, postdoctoral, and undergraduate students.
July 26, 2018



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.

Efficacy Study Results - Immediate Feedback with ASSISTments Improves Learning

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.

Learn Graspable Math

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.

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


student-to-faculty ratio 


Best Career Placement

Princeton Review (2019)

National Science Foundation Research awards


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


Neil Heffernan
Neil Heffernan


Ivon Arroyo
Ivon Arroyo


Erin Ottmar
Erin Ottmar

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.