Learning Science Extraordinaires: eLearning Trailblazers

Learning Science Thought Leaders Who Share Their Expertise

Exploring the inner workings of the mind gives us the opportunity to design learning experiences that leave a lasting impression. Thankfully, there are some in our field who are ready and willing to research what motivates and inspires learners, as well as how to improve knowledge retention through the power of science. In no particular order, here are the top learning science experts who share their insights with the eLearning community.

Learning Scientists You Should Know About

Megan A. Sumeracki

Dr. Megan A. Sumeracki (formerly Megan Smith) is an associate professor of Psychology at Rhode Island College. She is also the co-founder of The Learning Scientists, a community of cognitive psychological scientists whose main focus is research on the science of learning. Megan has spent a large part of her academic career researching human memory and learning, and specifically the way retrieval-based learning can promote knowledge acquisition. She holds a Master’s in Experimental Psychology and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology.

Tom Stafford

Dr. Tom Stafford holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience and is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield. He is also an associate editor for the Psychologist magazine and has worked in the past as a freelance writer and researcher for BBC. His research focuses on the management of risk and bias in decision-making. Most recently, his research delved into complex decisions and the psychology of reason, argument, and persuasion.

John Medina

Dr. John J. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and an affiliate professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The main focus of his study is the genetics behind human brain development and psychiatric disorders. He is a New York Times bestselling author, the Founding Director of two brain research institutes, and a frequent keynote speaker at events regarding the application of cognitive neurosciences to education and business.

Cindy Nebel

Dr. Cindy (Cynthia) Nebel is a lecturer in the Leadership & Learning in Organizations program at Vanderbilt University and a member of the Learning Scientists community. She holds a Ph.D. In Experimental Psychology, and her research focuses on learning and memory as well as applying cognitive concepts to education. She is passionate about data analysis and the use of evidence-based learning science to change education in a positive way.

Daniel Willingham

Dr. Daniel Willingham earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University and is currently a professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. Until the turn of the century, his research focused on the relationship between the brain and the functions of learning and memory. More recently, he has turned his focus on the application of cognitive psychology to K-16 education. He is a celebrated author, a columnist for the American Educatorand has served as a member of the National Board for Education Sciences.

Adele Diamond

Dr. Adele Diamond, Ph.D., FRSC, is a world-renowned scientist and innovator in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience. Her research focuses on executive functions such as cognitive flexibility, working memory, etc., and how those are impacted by biological and environmental factors. Her discoveries have contributed to the treatment of medical disorders and improved early education. She is currently a professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia and speaks at conferences all around the world.

Veronica X. Yan

Dr. Veronica X. Yan is an educational psychologist with a Ph.D. from the University of California and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Texas. Her research focuses on enhancing learning efficiency, empowering self-regulated learners, and investigating learning techniques that promote efficient and lasting learning. Her training workshops around the US attract teachers and professors from all levels.

Christopher Madan

Dr. Christopher Madan is an assistant professor and research scientist in the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on the study of memory using cognitive psychology, neuroimaging, and computational modeling. Specifically, he explores what makes some experiences more memorable than others. He has published over 100 articles and three books and is an editor for various journals. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Alberta.

Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel

Dr. Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Glasgow, a member of the Learning Scientists community of cognitive psychologists, and the founder of the Teaching Innovation & Learning Enhancement network. Her research focuses on learning and memory phenomena and their implementation in education for the enhancement of long-term retention. She frequently conducts CPD workshops and keynotes worldwide to bring awareness to this subject.

Michele Moscicki

Dr. Michele Moscicki holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta and is currently an assistant professor at the Psychology Department of MacEwan University. During her academic career, she has researched extensively the effects of stress on learning outcomes, as well as stress-coping mechanisms. She is also interested in education-related research, such as instructor-student rapport, student motivation, and teaching strategies.

Jan L. Place

Dr. Jan L. Plass is a professor and Paulette Goddard Chair in Digital Media and Learning Sciences at New York University. His research aims to investigate various design patterns to create effective simulations, games, and AR/VR/MR tools to facilitate learning for all age groups. He has produced 100+ journal articles and is a seek-after keynote speaker and advisor. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Technologies from Erfurt University.

Althea Need Kaminske

Dr. Althea Need Kaminske, who holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Purdue University, is currently an associate professor at St. Bonaventure University and a member of The Learning Scientists. She co-founded the Center for Attention, Learning, and Memory, where she studies the application of cognitive psychology to learning. Her research aims to identify the most effective ways for students to apply retrieval-based learning.

Alyssa Wise

Dr. Alyssa Wise is an expert in online and blended learning and a professor of Learning Sciences & Educational Technology at NYU. Her specialties include learning analytics, instructional design, educational data science, and more. She is currently working on analytics tools that support learning and studying data-informed educational decision-making. She holds a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences and a Master’s in Instructional Systems Technology.

Sam Abramovich

Dr. Sam Abramovich, who holds a Ph.D. in Learning Science and Policy, is an assistant professor of Education Informatics at the University at Buffalo. He is an expert in alternative assessments and educational games, education informatics, and learning sciences. His research focuses on identifying and studying the learning opportunities that emerge when combining learning sciences and emerging technology to help guide the improvement of education.

Richard E. Thurlow

Dr. Richard E. Thurlow is an associate professor at Widener University and the coordinator of the doctoral program for Cognitive Studies in Reading. His research focuses on the nature of comprehension as a whole and branches out to reading comprehension and developmental psycholinguistics. He advocates that brain research can help us understand and improve language and reading difficulties. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Michael SC Thomas

Dr. Michael SC Thomas is a professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Birkbeck University of London and the Director of the Center for Educational Neuroscience. In 2003, he also established the Developmental Neurocognition Laboratory, which aims to use multi-disciplinary methods to understand cognitive skills. He has written dozens of journal articles, published two books, and frequently speaks at conferences. He holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford.

Are You An eLearning Thought Leader Who Would Like To Be Featured On A Future List?

We’d like to congratulate all of the learning science experts featured on this list who shed light on learner motivations, drives, and other crucial factors that play a role in the learning process. If you’d like to be considered for our next eLearning Trailblazers List, our Editorial team would love to hear from you. We’ll publish more niche-specific thought leader lists in the near future, like eLearning gamifiers and leadership developers. We’d also like to invite you to guest post on our eLearning Industry platform to share your insider expertise. Last but not least, you can download our guide to explore submission tips and other essential info.

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