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The Johns Hopkins Science of Learning Institute

Understanding and Improving Learning Throughout Life

Learning is a fascinating process that is vital to lifelong success, yet we are only now beginning to understand how it works.

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Optimizing Learning Across the Lifespan

With your help, we can revolutionize learning from the cell to the classroom

How do molecules in the brain form the basis of learning, from infancy to advanced age? How does learning differ among individuals, and how can we develop personalized teaching approaches to address those differences? How can new technologies enhance learning, by people and machines?

Finding answers to those questions has potentially transformative ramifications for our educational systems, medical centers, even our global economy. But the path toward those answers requires the kind of innovative, multidisciplinary research not likely to be funded through traditional means. Johns Hopkins, through the Science of Learning Institute, has taken on this project at an unparalleled scale and scope, uniting neuroscientists, computer scientists, education experts, and many others to accelerate science-to-practice translation along the continuum of learning. This initiative, fueled by visionary donors, will revolutionize how we learn, from the cell to the classroom. We invite you to join us in this crucial and enormous undertaking. 

By supporting the Science of Learning Institute, you'll ensure our research informs practice — and vice versa.

With support from our early donors, the Science of Learning Institute has begun developing research that will help us understand learning in all of its phases and manifestations, training the learning experts of the future, and applying our research in local and global partnerships. Here are a few examples:

  • An anonymous $7.5 million gift provided initial seed funding for innovative and interdisciplinary research projects. Recent funded projects have answered questions such as:
    • Can patients suffering from brain damage learn to read letters and numbers again? Michael McCloskey, a professor of cognitive science in the Krieger School, is using behavioral testing and functional MRI technology to understand what goes on in the brain when someone struggles to discern letters or numbers after an injury or degenerative disease and develop work-arounds to help them overcome those very specific perception issues.
    • What do parents need to better prepare their children for literacy? A partnership among the Institute, the Children's Museum of Manhattan, and Baltimore's Port Discovery is working with parents caregivers to determine what they know about how children learn to read, then incorporates those findings to create new exhibits and resources at the museums to help those caregivers provide a foundation for literacy for their children.
  • Through a $1.5 million startup grant from the Windsong Trust, a new K-8 school in East Baltimore, Henderson-Hopkins, is becoming a national model for education reform. Windsong funding enabled Science of Learning researchers to digitize a powerful, but manually operated, student progress tracking system, maximizing efficiency and practicality for teachers. After the technology is refined, the system will be available to high-risk schools nationally.

You can help us make more discoveries by supporting these priorities:

  • Seed grants to foster highly innovative ideasThe institute's seed grant-supported research program is already proving to be a fertile source of multidisciplinary ideas. Your gift will enable us to build the program further, addressing topics such as how the brain changes through learning, and how development and aging affect our ability to learn.

  • Fellowships to train future leaders: The two-year Distinguished Science of Learning Fellowship, backed by your philanthropic support, will enable pre- and post-doctoral students to gain experience in multidisciplinary research and how to translate their findings to a variety of lay and professional audiences. Our goal is to offer 10 new fellowships over five years.

  • Putting research into practiceTo achieve our mission, we must build partnerships between our researchers and the broader community so that our research informs practice, and vice versa. Your gift will build the fund that supports our biennial symposium and other public awareness efforts, helping to bring our research to the world.

Understanding how we learn can help us address complex educational, social, and economic issues we face as individuals, families, and cultures. It also holds tremendous promise for the treatment of disease, learning disorders, and brain injuries. With your help, the Johns Hopkins Science of Learning Institute can truly transform lives. Please consider joining us — every gift counts.

Make a gift using our secure online giving form.