What We Do

Design new courses and educational programs with cutting-edge, science-based active learning
Upgrade existing courses and educational programs to take advantage of cutting-edge, science-based active learning
Teach faculty and instructional designers how to use cutting-edge, science-based active learning

Based on the Critically Acclaimed: Active Learning Online

Active Learning Sciences, Inc., builds on and extends the approach and principles in S. M. Kosslyn's Active Learning Online: Five Principles that Make Online Courses Come Alive.

Praise for Active Learning Online


“I cannot tell you how excited I am by this book! It absolutely is my go-to recommendation in the space and is required reading for our whole curriculum team. It's the perfect combination of theory and application with 0% fluff. I was familiar with many of the concepts in it, but only after ridiculous amounts of reading and discussions around the topic. This seems to be the exact slice of the field someone needs to actually build a class with the best teaching techniques in active learning.”

Aaron Rasmussen
Founder and CEO of Outlier.org, Co-Founder of MasterClass
"How do we ensure online learning lives up to its promise and potential? In Active Learning Online, Stephen Kosslyn equips educators everywhere by delivering fresh perspectives on the science of learning along with practical ways they can be applied in real life courses. For all the years I’ve been involved in adult learning and active learning, this book still surprised me with brilliant insights and made me think about how to implement his ideas.” 

Mary Hawkins
President, Bellevue University

"This is a phenomenally readable, concise and efficient summary of the current science of active learning and how it can improve your teaching. It is full of useful examples and clear explanations. While most of illuminating suggestions are applied to online teaching, the practical advice here will also easily be applied to any teaching situation. There is no better overview of this exploding field and there could not be a better time for this book. Read it in a morning and have your teaching transformed by the afternoon."

Jose Bowen
President Emeritus, Goucher College

"At last--a book that summarizes principles from the learning sciences that is at once both accessible and actionable! Any educator at any skill level will be able to derive value from Kosslyn's valuable contribution to improve the experience they offer students.” 

Michael B. Horn
Coauthor of Choosing College and Co-Founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute

"This small book contains big ideas about active learning, both online and in-person. Kosslyn bridges his knowledge of cognitive science with his experience in two education technology start-ups to provide a pedagogical handbook of sorts. Using engaging research studies, Kosslyn begins with an overview of basic cognitive functions, specifically how we organize, store and access information in memory. From here, he presents his own taxonomy of five learning principles: deep processing, chunking, associations, dual coding and deliberate practice. Then comes the lesson for instructors, as we come to appreciate exercises grounded in these principles. After reading this book, you will abandon the lecture for a brief lecture followed by active learning exercises, for example asking students to teach another student, to take the perspective or others through role playing or debate, to create content like a podcast and more. If your goal is to teach to make material stick with your students, and it should be, this book will be your guide." 

Kathleen McCartney
President, Smith College

“Stephen Kosslyn, one of the world's leading researchers on the science of learning, provides practical, easy-to-use methods that help students learn more effectively -- especially online, synchronously and asynchronously, and at scale. This book is an invaluable tool for all educators, and an enlightening resource for anyone interested in improving current education practices.” 

Jeff Maggioncalda
CEO, Coursera

“Active learning is a good idea that's rarely implemented. Stephen Kosslyn makes here a persuasive case for its adoption and gives a straightforward plan to create more engaging and effective courses. That's no surprise, because he effortlessly combines enormous insight and experience into creative solutions.” 

John Katzman
Founder and CEO of Noodle, and Founder and Former CEO of 2U and Princeton Review

“Every parent and student who were already online learners or who have been pushed by the pandemic into the online world should read this book. Professor Kosslyn has dedicated his academic life to the study of how human beings learn and has developed extremely valuable lessons in how to thrive in a virtual classroom.”

Bob Kerrey
Former U.S. Senator; President Emeritus, The New School

"This book is an essential resource for any teacher serious about optimizing their approach to online instruction. Dr. Kosslyn strikes the perfect balance between outlining key pedagogical principles and dispensing practical teaching advice."

Stephen Bailey
Founder and CEO, ExecOnline

“Active Learning Online is an extraordinary work that will revolutionize the way you think about education, and will shape both educational practice and conversations about effective education for many years and decades to come.”

Daniel J. Levitin
Author of bestsellers This Is Your Brain on Music, The Organized Mind, and Successful Aging

“Drawing skillfully on a lifetime of teaching, conducting research, and leading educational institutions, cognitive psychologist Stephen Kosslyn distills the key components of effective education—online, as well as in the “live” classroom. This book is timely and should be useful for any instructor.”

Howard Gardner
Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Our Story

We aim to spread the word on science-based, highly effective pedagogy.

Stephen M. Kosslyn, Founder

After three decades on the Harvard faculty, to Center Director at Stanford, to Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer at Minerva, to President of Foundry College, I came to realize that the best way to fulfill my mission in life is not to teach students directly, but rather to teach teachers. And, more than this, to help others to use the science of learning to design new, cutting-edge educational programs and courses.

Thus was born Active Learning Sciences. We aim to spread the word on science-based, highly effective pedagogy. We design programs, we design courses, and we design sessions. If you need to teach something, we can help you do so in a way that your students not only will learn easily, but have fun while doing so.  Drop us a note… let’s talk!

Dr. Beth Callaghan

Vice President

Dr. Beth Callaghan has been working in higher education for more than a decade. Over the past six years, she has focused on curriculum design, incorporating the science of learning into pedagogy and promoting active learning in diverse classrooms. She received her B.A. in English and World Literature from UCLA, her M.A. in English from UC Irvine, and her Ph.D. in English and Gender Studies from the University of Southern California. She has taught in high school and college classrooms in southern California and was previously an Assistant Professor and course designer at The Minerva Schools at KGI. Most recently, she has served as the Dean of Foundry College. She is passionate about creating inspiring curricula that give students real world skills and connect concretely to their life experiences.

Louise Vigeant

Senior Instructional Design Architect 

Louise Vigeant has over ten years of experience in instructional design, teaching and administration at traditional and online universities. Louise began her career at Amsterdam University College, where she oversaw the launch of the social sciences curriculum as the Head of Studies: Social Sciences. She then moved to the United States where she taught and designed courses at the University of Mississippi, Minerva Schools at KGI and Foundry College. A strong advocate of active learning, she is dedicated to the creation of authentic and inspiring opportunities for engagement in the classroom.

Louise received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cornell University in 2007.

Kacey Warren

Senior Instructional Design Architect 

Kacey Warren is an Instructional Designer, Associate Professor and published author who earned her doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. As a knowledge enthusiast with a passion for making good ideas accessible, she is excited to create course content on just about any topic imaginable, but particularly enjoys working on projects that have a meaningful impact on facilitating social justice.

Niki Gallagher Garcia

Project Manager 

Niki Gallagher-Garcia brings more than a decade of product and client management experience with her to the Active Learning Sciences team.  Niki began her career in the insurance industry, designing, implementing and marketing numerous travel insurance products and programs. She now serves clients as a project manager, overseeing multiple teams, projects and budgets, in addition to managing and executing marketing campaigns.

Employment Opportunities

We are seeking candidates for Instructional Design positions. These team members design educational programs and courses using new types of science-based active-learning. Each session of each course includes a mixture of content delivery (e.g., in lectures, videos), active learning exercises (e.g., role playing, problem solving, debate), and assessments (both formative and summative). Applicants should be passionate about education and about educational innovation, have excellent communication skills, be open to new ways of teaching, be self-directed, and be flexible and adaptable.

 The specific responsibilities are as follows: 

I. Create detailed lesson plans for synchronous or asynchronous courses 

  • Lesson plans for synchronous courses are developed as Google Slide decks. A slide presentation typically constitutes a lecture, with detailed Presenter Notes beneath each slide. The lecture focuses on helping students achieve specific learning objectives (particular skills and knowledge), as specified in the syllabus. Video clips can be included in lectures, but all such materials must be open source.

  • The lecture component is developed in collaboration with a Subject Matter Expert.

  • Polls and other quick active-learning exercises are inserted into the lecture in order to keep students engaged.

  • Breakout Groups (of 2 – 6 students, as appropriate) follow each segment of a lecture, during which active learning occurs.

  • The active learning exercises implement the principles described in the book Active Learning Online: Five Principles that Make Online Courses Come Alive (S. M. Kosslyn, 2020). Instructional designers will receive training on how to use these principles.

  • Assessments and assignments are also created.

  • Lesson plans for asynchronous courses are similar, with recorded materials and/or readings for the content delivery component (typically loaded on the Canvas LMS).

  • Asynchronous courses also involve Interactive Learning Objects, which engage students even when they are working alone.

  • The biggest difference between synchronous and asynchronous courses is in how active learning exercises are designed; the challenge is to devise ways to engage students in the material at their own schedule and convenience.

 II. Meet weekly with the faculty team who are developing courses

  • Instructional Designers meet weekly to review progress and obstacles to progress and to share best practices.

III. Iterate on each lesson plan with an Editor, who will help ensure that the lesson plans are clear and comprehensive

  • Each lesson plan begins with an outline, typically developed in collaboration with a Subject Matter Expert.

  • The Editor provides feedback on the outline.

  • The outline in turn leads to a fleshed out lesson plan, with the content delivery component, active learning component, and assessment component.

  • The lesson plan is submitted to the Editor, who provides feedback; the Instructional Designer and Editor then iterate to improve the lesson plan.

  • The final lesson plan is implemented as a Google Slides deck (for synchronous courses) or a Module in Canvas (for asynchronous courses).

 Requirements:

  • At least a M.A. in a relevant field

  • At least two years teaching experience preferred

  • Familiarity with the Canvas LMS (for asynchronous courses) preferred

  • Open to new ideas; adaptable

  • Highly organized and responsible

  • High energy and entrepreneurial spirit

If you think you'd be a good fit, please send your resume and cover letter to 
Dr. Beth Callaghan: bcallaghan@activelearningsciences.com

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