Concept

Learning sciences

Summary
Learning sciences (LS) is an interdisciplinary field that works to further scientific, humanistic, and critical theoretical understanding of learning as well as to engage in the design and implementation of learning innovations, and the improvement of instructional methodologies. LS research traditionally focuses on cognitive-psychological, social-psychological, cultural-psychological and critical theoretical foundations of human learning, as well as practical design of learning environments. Major contributing fields include cognitive science, computer science, educational psychology, anthropology, and applied linguistics. Over the past decade, researchers have expanded their focus to include the design of curricula, informal learning environments, instructional methods, and policy innovations. As an emerging discipline, LS is still in the process of defining itself. Accordingly, the identity of the field is multifaceted, and varies from institution to institution. However, the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) summarizes the field as follows: "Researchers in the interdisciplinary field of learning sciences, born during the 1990s, study learning as it happens in real-world situations and how to better facilitate learning in designed environments – in school, online, in the workplace, at home, and in informal environments. Learning sciences research may be guided by constructivist, social-constructivist, socio-cognitive, and socio-cultural theories of learning." ISLS has a large worldwide membership, is affiliated with two international journals: Journal of the Learning Sciences, and International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, and sponsors the biennial Computer Supported Collaborative Learning conference and International Conference of the Learning Sciences on alternate years. Although controlled experimental studies and rigorous qualitative research have long been employed in learning sciences, LS researchers often use design-based research methods.
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