Carnegie Mellon University

Marsha Lovett

Marsha Lovett

Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Innovation, Professor of Psychology (Teaching)

Areas of Expertise

Cognitive Science, Learning Science


In my research, I have studied how learning works (mostly in college-level courses) and how different interventions can improve it. I have done this in several disciplines, including physics, matrix algebra, programming, statistics, and engineering. I use various methodologies in my work, including computational modeling, protocol analysis, laboratory experiments, and classroom studies. As a result, I have developed several innovative, educational technologies to promote student learning and metacognition, including StatTutor (an intelligent tutoring system for statistics) and the Learning Dashboard (a learning analytics system that promotes adaptive teaching and learning in online instruction).

Besides my appointment in the Psychology Department, I am Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Innovation. In that role, I oversee CMU’s Eberly Center (a team of team of teaching consultants, learning designers, data scientists, and technologists to help instructors create meaningful and demonstrably effective educational experiences) and lead other strategic educational initiatives for the university. Most recently, I launched a new online education unit that partners with academic units to design, develop, and maintain new online graduate and professional education programs.  Combining my educational research and administration work, I co-authored the book How Learning Works (now in its second edition), that distills the research on how students learn into a set of fundamental principles that instructors can use to guide their teaching.


Lovett, M. C., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. K. (2023). How Learning Works: Eight Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (2nd edition). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

Martella, A., Lovett, M.C., & Ramsay, L. (2021). Implementing active learning: A critical examination of sources of variation in active learning college science courses. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 32(1), 67-96.

Muci-Kuchler, K.H., Birrenkott, C.M., Bedillion, M.D., Lovett, M. & Pottmeyer, L. (2021). Building and Revising an Assessment to Measure Students’ Self-Efficacy in Systems Thinking. ASEE Virtual Conference.

Lovett, M.C., & Hershock, C. (2020). Cultivating and sustaining a faculty culture of data-driven teaching and learning: A systems approach. To Improve the Academy, 39(1), 63-93.

Delahay, A.B., & Lovett, M.C. (2019). Distinguishing two types of prior knowledge that support novice learners, Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Montreal, QC: Cognitive Science Society.

Lovett, M.C. (2013). Make exams worth more than the grade: Using exam wrappers to promote metacognition. In M. Kaplan, D. LaVaque-Manty, D. Meizlish, & N. Silver (Eds.) Reflection and Metacognition in College Teaching. New York: Stylus Publishing.

Lovett, M. C., Meyer, O., & Thille, C. (2008). Open Learning Initiative: Testing the accelerated learning hypothesis in Statistics. Journal of Interactive Media in Education.