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Learning Sciences and Learning Environment Design Specialization

Who are we?

The Learning Sciences and Learning Environment Design specialization is an interdisciplinary specialization that examines the design of environments to support learning. This includes the design of technologies, policies, representational practices, and curricular practices in both formal and informal settings - including schools, workplaces, and communities.  Students will pursue individually tailored programs that support them in acquiring specialized expertise and engaging in innovative scholarship by integrating perspectives on learning and design from multiple domains (e.g., Cognitive Science, Psychology, Computer Science, Early Childhood Development, Educational Policy, Diversity Studies, Anthropology, Neuroscience, etc.). The faculty for this specialization includes faculty from the Learning, Teaching, and Diversity PhD program and affiliated faculty from other departments at Vanderbilt in Education and Human Development, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering.

What is the program of study like for doctoral students in the LSLED program?

The LSLED Ph.D. curriculum includes courses on human cognition, development, and epistemology, the design of learning environments and learning technologies, socio-cultural-historical contexts of learning and teaching, and research methods. Electives that may include courses from a broad range of other departments to facilitate students' acquisition of specialized expertise. A central emphasis of students' scholarship will focus on the design and analysis of learning environments that are responsive to diverse learners and contexts. Students will develop advanced proficiencies for the design, analysis, and development of learning environments through research apprenticeships with faculty from across the university. Students and their faculty advisers create a program of study that draws from course work from across the department, college, and university to build demonstrated expertise in the learning sciences as well as in the domain and learning context of focus.

The study of learning and research on how to support learning often benefits from collaborative multidisciplinary research efforts. Students in this program will therefore collaborate in close research interactions with an interdisciplinary faculty. In addition to their coursework, students will engage in research throughout their degree program.

What do LSLED graduates do when they complete their doctoral work?

Graduates of the program are expected to, and will be well prepared to, assume research positions in the learning sciences, curriculum and instruction, educational technology, and related fields at top universities and research organizations.