workstream 03

How should we grow the sciences of adult learning and academic progress?

An applied science to support working learners will draw expertise from multiple fields including economics, psychology, sociology and the learning sciences. It also will take advantage of ubiquitous data describing educational and career progress. The task of this workstream is to begin to forge shared scientific language and focal problems that might organize cumulative, multi-method, multidisciplinary inquiry.


Rachel Baker

Zach Pardos


Routine and Adaptive Expertise in Working Learners

Stanford learning scientists Dan Schwartz and Kristen Blair introduce the distinction between routine and adaptive expertise, and consider strategies that educators and employers might pursue to nurture the development of adaptive expertise among working learners.


Developing Transformative Working-Learner Measurement Infrastructure

UC-Irvine sociologist and education researcher Richard Arum offers a big-picture framework for conceptualizing collaboratively built infrastructure to observe how working learners accumulate skills, credentials, occupational titles and earnings as they move through the life course.


The Challenge of Defining, Measuring, and Improving Outcomes for Working Learners

Urban Institute economist Sandy Baum provides a high-level overview of the task of building a strong evidence base to inform government policy-making around services to working learners.



Rachel Baker
Assistant Professor, UC Irvine
Zach Pardos
Associate Professor, UC Berkeley
Research on algorithms and other technologies my lab develops are geared towards adapting pathways from high school through to employment. Interested in the partnerships that can be made through this seminar series and complexities that can be surfaced.
Elizabeth Armstrong
Sherry B. Ortner Collegiate Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan
MJ Bishop
Associate Vice Chancellor and Director, William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, University System of Maryland
Angela Boatman
Associate Professor, Boston College
I have recently started (and in some cases completed) research projects related to microcredentialing and stackable credentials and am interested in the role these programs will play in bridging higher education and industry going forward. I also have previous research experience on the role and effectiveness of prior learning assessments on credential/ degree attainment.
Emma Brunskill
Associate Professor, Stanford University
Catherine Chase
Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science in Education, Teachers College of Columbia University
I have expertise in cognitive science and educational psychology, with a focus on how people learn. I am particularly interested in the conditions under which people transfer their learnings from one context to another. This is a huge issue because it is very difficult for most learners to transfer their knowledge to novel contexts. It is also a huge issue in workplace learning because professional development and other trainings often do not transfer or transfer poorly to real-life work tasks. Right now I'm undertaking a study of early-career oncologists to explore whether and how they transfer and adapt principles from a course on learning sciences into their own teaching in the workplace.
Maria Cormier
Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center
Papia Debroy
Senior Vice President of Insights, Opportunity@Work
Nicole Dobbins
Associate Professor, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
Thurston Domina
Professor of Educational Policy and Organizational Leadership, North Carolina
I have two relevant interests: First, I regularly teach and mentor working educators who are seeking professional degrees in educational leadership. I plan to draw upon these conversations to help think about how I might help design programs and educational opportunities that better serve these students. Second, my research revolves particularly around K-12 education and the link between educational policy and practice and social inequality. I am very interested in learning more about the ways K-12 schools are engaging with working learners and developing research agendas to evaluate and advance that engagement.
Karin Forssell
LDT Director, Stanford University
Maria Flynn
President and CEO, Jobs for the Future
Chad Hoggan
Associate Professor of Adult & Lifelong Education, North Carolina State University
My contributions will come from a perspective of holistic learning needs of adults, especially during times of transition and challenge. My research focus is on transformative learning, which I have used in studies with cancer survivors, military veterans, community college students from historically underserved backgrounds, and migrants. I also focus on holistic learning needs related to participation in democratic society.
Sara Hooshangi
Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
Shaw Hsu
Biophysics PhD Student, Stanford University
Ji Hea Kim
Director of Product Development and Research, InsideTrack
Rene Kizilcec
Assistant Professor, Cornell University
Daniel Knox
Assistant Provost, SUNY System Administration
I would like to learn from colleagues at other institutions about their approaches to support working learners. Where applicable, I would be interested in connecting on joint projects, research opportunities, etc.
Kurt Kraiger
Professor of Management, University of Memphis
I do research and writing on the Science of Workplace Instruction, blending what we know from the Science of Learning and the Science of Training to support better instructional processes in organizations. I also have interests in workforce development and the career development within organizations. A critical issue for the group to continually assess is the extent to which best practices in instructional design do and do not transfer across different research disciplines. As one example, many researchers have advocated for age-specific training principles for older (>50) workers, but there is more compelling evidence that sound instructional principles work are comparably effective for adult learners of all ages.
David Lang
Data Scientist, Western Governors University
Identify cost reduction strategies in higher education: -Microcredentials -Degree transferability -Predictive Analytics for Degree Completion -Retention/Course persistence interventions
Carolynn Lee
Program Officer, Ascendium Education Group
Want to understand and make connections between this work and other efforts- shared goals, divergent strategies, etc. Always trying to keep an eye on the big picture.
John Mitchell
Professor of computer science, Stanford University
I am interested in empowering leaners to understand and use digital technology in ways that enrich their lives. This can include professional advancement - I've developed and taught a pro ed program for close to 20 years - as well as basic understanding of formerly "advanced" concepts like machine learning, cybersecurity. and web tracking and customization that affect many of us every day. (I'd be glad to frame some of these issues, contribute background CS, etc.) A second current interest is how the pandemic is changing individuals, society, and the world economy. This includes acceleration of digital transformation in many sectors, along with likely shifts in autonomy, power and wealth. (I'd be glad to help summarize how AI is advancing and changing the nature of work, how digital transformation affects various industries, what learners might want to learn to be successful in the future, etc.)
Christian Osmena
Vice President, Enterprise Planning, Arizona State University
I'm especially interested in the final question around systems that could be built to observe, measure, and compare gains. I'm also interested in understanding how financial structures influence responses to the six big questions. Thank you for the invitation!
David Parento
President, StraighterLine
Pushpa Ramakrishna
Program Director, Division for Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation
Janet Salm
Managing Director of Research, Strada Institute for the Future of Work
Finding clarity, a shared agenda, co-conspirators. My hope is that we can eliminate some of the duplication and waste of chasing down the same information that's already known, and focus our energies together on the most promising actions to be taken.
Sanjay Sarma
Vice President for Open Learning, MIT
Daniel Schwartz
Professor and Dean, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University
David Soo
Chief of Staff, Jobs For the Future (JFF)
Eric Taylor
Associate Professor, Harvard University
Anthony Wagner
Professor & Chair, Psychology Department, Stanford University
Translating science of learning, memory, and attention to real-world learning problems, including workforce learning and performance.
Michelle Weise
Vice Chancellor, Strategy & Innovation, National University System