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Postdoctoral Training Grant

Abstract

The interdisciplinary educational research training program at Vanderbilt University will use multiple educational and research activities to train a sizable cadre of education scientists who are experts in conducting randomized field experiments of theory-based interventions and approaches aimed at enhancing student learning in educational settings. These activities include newly crafted graduate courses, extensive research experience with faculty who conduct randomized field trials, four summer workshops, monthly interdisciplinary lectures and colloquia, teaching experiences, internships, and conference attendance. Over the next five years, 35 predoctoral trainees will acquire expertise in planning, executing, and analyzing high quality randomized field trials of educational programs and other strategies that are firmly grounded in theoretical frameworks and supported by prior empirical evidence on the viability of the proposed intervention. Coupled with skills in the use of meta-analytic procedures, the accumulation of evidence from such studies will provide an additional basis for answering questions of what works for whom and under what circumstances. To enhance the caliber of theories guiding practice, the development of interventions, based on theories and research about how people learn in educational settings, is a particular focus of the training program. The training program's ultimate aim is to develop a new breed of education scientists who are both committed and well-equipped to articulate models of effective educational practice that are rooted in principles of learning and high quality empirical evidence.