Louise Yarnall


Senior Research Social Scientist, SRI Education

Louise Yarnall, PhD, studies ways to help educators and employers prepare learners for careers. Yarnall’s work focuses on supporting novel ways to integrate career exploration and preparation into both K–16 and the workplace settings. She has published research on how instructors can incorporate workplace simulation projects and employability skills development into the classroom. She has designed and evaluated the efficacy of new forms of technology to improve learning in college and on the job, including leading national studies on adaptive learning products and several studies focused on design and prototyping new learning methods using mobile, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence technologies.

Yarnall excels at analyzing both technical knowledge in a wide range of domains and non-technical skills that support success in life and work. Yarnall has analyzed such content in college, military, and employer courses, including such topics as software programming, cybersecurity, biology, and economics. She has documented the knowledge of expert workplace technicians. She has studied techniques for improving employability skills, such as communication, teamwork, and adapting to workplace expectations. She led a team that developed a work-based learning framework for the state of Maryland.

Yarnall also is an expert in the design and delivery of problem-based learning and adaptive learning courseware. She has published peer-reviewed articles on the challenges of implementing these approaches in classrooms. She also has deep expertise in microlearning methods and has applied such methods to develop curricula for cybersecurity education and emergency readiness.

Yarnall’s interest in careers, learning, and instructional technology stems from her formative professional years working as a newspaper journalist based in Southern California. In that award-winning work, Yarnall covered prominent professionals in multiple fields, conducted investigations using computer-assisted reporting, and reported on numerous political controversies. In her doctoral thesis at UCLA, she measured how well people discern different viewpoints in news reports and editorials. This work led her to explore how people learn core knowledge in multiple fields and how educators can design instruction to accelerate the development of expert understanding in many domains.

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