Research on Learning

SRI's Center for Technology in Learning performs research on learning to identify how people learn and how teachers can become more effective. In its work, the Center applies approaches such as ethnographies, case studies, design experiments, randomized experiments, research design, and longitudinal research.

Depending on the research objective, the Center forms teams with expertise in learning sciences, cognitive science, psychology, sociology, statistics, anthropology, and relevant math and science topics. We integrate insights on the cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of learning into research designs for formal schooling (from preschool to university), and for informal settings such as museums and community centers.


two girls looking at a world globe and smiling

Improving classroom assessment is potentially one of the most powerful ways to improve student achievement. To realize such gains, however, teachers must use classroom assessments formatively, that is, to adjust and improve instruction.

Teacher working with students at computers

SRI designed and implemented the process for updating the Department of Education plan for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily lives to the U.S. education system.

Teacher watches educational video program with young students

SRI and its partner are building on a groundbreaking scientific study of how public media materials can help low-income preschoolers develop key early literacy skills.

two teen student girls working together at a computer

To advance understanding of how to improve students’ learning of algebra and key science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics, SRI conducted rigorous large-scale research in schools in Texas and Florida.

gamers looking at computer screens with a virtual scene on wall behind them

SRI International uses virtual gaming environments to research online behavior across cultures.

young man rests his head against his arm in front of a brick wall

SRI is evaluating the effectiveness of a school-based intervention program for students who have witnessed or experienced traumatic events.

high school students at graduation, throwing their hats in the air

SRI is evaluating the efficacy of a program promoting school success and completion for students at high risk of school failure and dropout.

young girl reading a book

Through the Center, SRI conducted randomized trials of interventions for students with severe behavior problems in first through third grades.

Press Releases

Video still from Curious George show

Preschool children from low-income backgrounds showed significant gains in math skills after their teachers used PBS videos and interactive digital games in their lessons. Previous research has shown that early math achievement is a strong predictor of later school achievement.

Jeremy Roschelle, Ph.D.

Jeremy Roschelle, Ph.D., co-director of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning, highlighted how education researchers can best leverage the vast amount of data about online learning that is now available for their studies.

middle school children in a classroom with teacher looking on

New research makes clear that students doing well in seventh grade math are more likely to succeed in advanced math classes when they reach high school.

writing on a math board

A new SRI-led study finds that people with autism spectrum disorders are significantly more likely to choose science majors, if they attend college.

SRI to Host Webcast of Cyberlearning Research Summit

The Cyberlearning Research Summit, organized by SRI International and the Lawrence Hall of Science, will feature discussions on the future of learning, and the technology necessary for scalable and lasting advances in STEM education.

SRI In the News

Glencairn Kids Study Genetics

The STEMGenetics curriculum, which includes growing plants and using genetic information to predict their traits, was developed by Michelle Williams, associate professor of science education at MSU, and Angela DeBarger, senior research scientist with SRI International.

New Initiative Brings Genetic Studies Into Local Schools

STEMGenetics is a hands-on teaching program developed by science education professor Michelle Williams and Angela Haydel DeBarger, a senior education research scientist at SRI International.

PBS Math Supplement Boosts Math Skills for Young Children

An SRI study of a math enrichment program featuring characters such as the Cat in the Hat and Curious George showed that the 10-week program boosted early math skills for 4- and 5-year-olds from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Study Shows Impact of Stress on Learning for Inner-City Kids

A study by SRI International focusing on incoming middle school students will indicate if they're having symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as nightmares, flashbacks, fear, guilt, withdrawal, rage.

Study Shows Some Inner-City Students Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress

The violence on city streets takes its toll on the young. A new survey by SRI International shows that one out of six of the sixth grade students they looked at suffer from post-traumatic stress.

Studying Trauma in S.F. Middle Schools

At Aptos Middle School in San Francisco, Calif., social workers and researchers are working with students who have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or similar trauma induced problems.

Studying Trauma in S.F. Middle Schools

This article reports that SRI education researchers at are testing the effectiveness of school-based group therapy to improve student coping skills and, in turn, academic performance for middle school students who have been exposed to traumatic events.


This report presents results from the Ready To Learn Prekindergarten Transmedia Mathematics Study. Researchers found that preschool children who experienced a PBS KIDS Transmedia Math Supplement developed essential early mathematics skills.

Head Start programs are required to set aside at least 10% of program slots for children with disabilities, but the percentage of children with disabilities served varies depending on the criteria used and source of the information.

Instructional Development System (IDS) is an ambitious reform model first implemented in 14 CPS high schools in the fall of 2006. IDS focuses on increasing the rigor and relevance of high school courses by strengthening the curricula and improving teaching.

Renaissance 2010 high schools represent a diverse set. Some of the schools are new campuses of existing charters, whereas others are the first or only schools operated by their charter management organization or education management organization.