Out-of-School Learning

Learning experiences for students often happen outside of the classroom—at community facilities, such as museums and sports centers, and through structured groups and activities, such as homework clubs and community service. Out-of-school learning can help students overcome learning disabilities and develop new talents, and increase their interest in education.

Current perspectives emphasize the role of out-of-school learning programs in critical issues, such as encouraging a diversity of students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and careers. This point of view underscores the importance of developing new research and evaluation approaches for out-of-school learning environments, while taking into account their distinct features.

SRI education researchers address the need for out-of-school programs by

  • Evaluating innovative programs within science museums and community centers

  • Studying out-of-school activities that engage girls in STEM projects

  • Investigating the foundations of out-of-school learning activity


two girls examining a rock with a magnifying glass in classroom

SRI served as the external evaluator for a program that aims to increase the likelihood that San Francisco Bay Area students regularly experience high-quality science instruction aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core.

girl student working on a project

SRI Education is evaluating Start Making!, part of a Making! @ Clubhouses initiative, which provides resources to support hands-on making in Computer Clubhouse locations throughout the world.

young boy student tinkering on a project

SRI studied the pilot year of a program that aims to promote the expansion of high-quality STEM-rich tinkering activities into afterschool programs serving children from low-income communities.

two elementary school age girls looking at a butterfly through a magnifying glas

SRI is conducting a multi-year examination of informal science offerings to explore the inquiry opportunities available for learners, the instructional materials used by staff, and the role of support partners.

two teenage girl students high-fiving each other, showing a project

This afterschool and summer curriculum helps middle school girls develop information technology (IT) fluency, interest in mathematics, and knowledge of IT careers.

science teacher in front of students at chalkboard

SRI is evaluating the impact and effectiveness of a federally funded effort to meet growing demand for professionals and information technology workers in the United States.

Press Releases

Researchers from SRI Education, a division of SRI International, will be featured speakers and presenters at the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) annual meeting. The largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research will take place April 8-12, 2016 in Washington, D...

two young girls looking at a butterfly through a magnifying glass

September 24, 2014—A new research study from SRI provides insights into how publicly funded afterschool programs that offer science can strengthen learning opportunities for elementary school students and encourage interest in science. The five-year project, funded by the National...

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.

A landmark study from SRI International reveals that the vast majority of California's schools fail to meet state standards for teaching the arts, and that access to arts instruction varies widely among the state's schools.

SRI In the News


The U.S. Department of Energy today unveiled the National Training and Education Resource, a new open-source online-learning platform designed to facilitate technical training.


An overview of findings from SRI Education's final report organized according to the goals of the Start Making program, which SRI evaluated.

SRI Education examined how and to what degree science instruction changed in the classrooms of districts, schools, and individuals participating in BaySci programming. We sought evidence of changes in classroom practice, student learning and engagement, and district and school culture.

Increasing attention has been paid to afterschool programs for their potential to deliver science experiences that are rich and engaging for children. We report on our study that examined the science offerings of a publicly funded statewide afterschool program.

To improve educational productivity, In the U.S., online learning alternatives are proliferating rapidly. This report supports educational administrators and policymakers in becoming informed consumers of information about online learning and its potential impact on educational productivity.

This poster describes ongoing work that examines students use of a computer-based learning environment designed to bridge school and out-of-school learning contexts by incorporating affordances of both formal and informal learning settings.

Blog Posts

How can students keep learning science when the school day ends? After-school programs have the potential to boost students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).