top of page

The Sciences of Active Learning

Speaker: Professor Stephen Kosslyn
Active Learning Sciences, Inc.

Active learning leads to substantially better learning than occurs with traditional lecturing. This talk reviews the nature of active learning and explains why it is so effective. The talk focuses on fundamental principles drawn from the science of learning; these principles range from Deep Processing (the more mental effort one expends when processing information, the more likely it is to be remembered) to Chunking (humans can only absorb about four organized units at the same time, but each of those units can have up to four parts) to Deliberate Practice (practice is most effective when one uses feedback to focus on the most difficult aspects of the knowledge or skill). We not only consider the principles, but also see how to apply them to teaching—particularly when teaching online, both in synchronous settings (i.e., live, as occurs on Google Meet, Webex or Zoom) and in asynchronous settings (i.e., when the student and instructor are not present at the same time, and students learn largely at their own pace). The talk practices what it preaches by relying on demonstrations and illustrations of key points.

About the speaker
Stephen Kosslyn.tif

Professor Stephen Kosslyn
Active Learning Sciences, Inc.

Professor Stephen M. Kosslyn is the founder, CEO and President of Active Learning Sciences, Inc., and is Chief Academic Officer of Foundry College. He previously was the Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute. Before that, he was the director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Prior to that, he spent three decades at Harvard University, where he was chair of the Department of Psychology, Dean of Social Science, and Lindsley Professor of Psychology. 

Professor Kosslyn received a B.A. from UCLA and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, both in psychology. His research has focused primarily on the nature of visual cognition, visual communication, and the science of learning; he has published 14 books and over 350 papers on these topics. He received the American Psychological Association's Boyd R. McCandless Young Scientist Award, the National Academy of Sciences Initiatives in Research Award, a Cattell Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the J-L. Signoret Prize (France), an honorary Doctorate from the University of Caen, an honorary Doctorate from the University of Paris Descartes, an honorary Doctorate from the University of Bern (Switzerland), and election to Academia Rodinensis pro Remediatione (Switzerland), the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Discussion panel

Professor Chetwyn Chan, Peter T. C. Lee Chair Professor of Psychology, EdUHK
Professor Anthony Cheung, GBS, JP, Research Chair Professor of Public Administration, EdUHK
Professor Cheung Him, Chair Professor of Cognition, EdUHK
Professor Li Ping, Chair Professor of Neurolinguistics and Bilingual Studies, PolyU


Lecture 3: About the speaker
Lecture 3: Watch Now
bottom of page