New initiatives accelerate learning research and its applications

Gabrieli, Belcher, Sarma leading new efforts to understand learning, improve it at all levels of education.

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
February 2, 2016

MIT President L. Rafael Reif announced today a significant expansion of the Institute’s programs in learning research and online and digital education — from pre-kindergarten through residential higher education and lifelong learning — that fulfills a number of recommendations made in 2014 by the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education.

Most notably, Reif announced the creation of the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), to be led by Professor John Gabrieli, and a new effort to increase MIT’s ability to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning by students from pre-kindergarten through high school (pK-12), to be led by Professor Angela Belcher. The announcement also included a program to support faculty innovations in MIT residential education and new work to enhance MIT’s continuing education programs.

In keeping with the high priority of these new efforts and of the entire field of digital learning, Professor Sanjay Sarma, now dean of digital learning, will oversee them in the newly created position of vice president for open learning, reporting directly to Reif.

Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, who will share responsibility with Sarma for several aspects of this work, predicts that the programs announced today will have “far-reaching and tremendous implications for education — for MIT students as well as for students not at MIT.”

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