Carnegie Mellon University

Flagship Projects

The Simon Initiative’s core work is focused on using CMU’s learning engineering ecosystem to create the next generation educational system.

To achieve this, the Carnegie Corporation of New York is supporting research to better understand and develop strategies to overcome the barriers to using technology-enhanced learning (TEL) resources in higher education.

Additionally, three centerpiece courses are being overhauled at CMU using the Simon approach:

  • Writing and Communication
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Introduction to Computer Science

The initiative relies on:

DataLab - the world’s largest bank of educational technology data — detailed data about how people learn and how effective learning software can be designed and deployed. DataLab offers tools to collect, analyze and securely store data from both offline and online instruction. These efforts help educators, researchers, course designers and partners to better assess performance, design courses, test new ideas and incorporate insights to improve student learning outcomes.

Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science (METALS) - a one-year, interdisciplinary masters program that trains graduate students to become learning engineers. Graduates employ a quantitative approach to education in which they learn to apply science of learning principles, evidence-based research and large scale data analysis to design, create and improve educational resources and technologies that enable students and instructors to succeed.

LearnLab - is the scientific arm of the Simon Initiative. Originally funded by the National Science Foundation, it leverages cognitive theory and computational modeling to identify the instructional conditions that lead to robust student learning.

Open-Learning Initiative (OLI) - offers online courses to anyone who wants to learn or teach. They combine open, high-quality courses, continuous feedback and research to improve learning and transform higher education. Numerous studies have shown that students learn more when using OLI-developed courses than video-only online instruction.