The Essential Teaching and Learning Source

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

New Book!

Active Learning with AI: A Practical Guide

In this book, researcher and educational innovator Stephen M. Kosslyn demystifies AI and its relationship to education, and he provides a wealth of step-by-step illustrations and examples to help instructors and course designers both understand AI concepts and use them to build stimulating active learning exercises and lesson plans. Whether you teach a course in a traditional classroom, online, or with a hybrid approach, this book will inform and empower you to create more engaging, personalized, and scalable learning experiences for your students.

Praise for Active Learning with AI

“While the threats that AI platforms like ChatGPT pose to education have been very clear, the benefits have, for most educators, been harder to recognize, let alone implement. Kosslyn does a masterful job of laying out how AI can be used to support deep student learning, beginning with broad principles, then providing supporting details, all the way down to specific examples of prompts for lessons. This book not only has ready utility, it is an inspiration.”

Daniel T. Willingham, Ph.D.
Author of Outsmart Your Brain and Why Don't Students Like School?

“One of the world's foremost experts on the science of learning, Stephen Kosslyn has written the book we need at this important moment to guide the use of generative AI in ways that will improve teaching and learning. Kosslyn has woven the constructive use of AI with the principles and proven strategies of active learning, showing in concrete and practical terms how to harness AI to engage students and promote learning. Organized around key active learning strategies, this book provides everything needed to start using AI to develop assignments, learning activities, assessment tools, and more, with the emphasis always on achieving deep and sustained learning for our student.”

Teressa A. Cannon
Founding President, Minerva University

“The recent emergence of AI tools such as ChatGPT has potentially profound implications for education. Combining his expertise in cognitive psychology, hands-on experience as an educator, and engagement with AI, Stephen Kosslyn has provided an invaluable guide for fellow educators seeking to navigate this new terrain.  I can't think of anyone else better suited to the task, and Kosslyn has delivered admirably with this timely, clearly written, and pragmatic volume.”

Daniel L. Schacter
William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers

"In this timely book, Stephen Kosslyn  synthesizes what's been established about effective teaching and learning -- and then demonstrates how to mobilize this knowledge in the world of ChatGPT and other Large Language Models."

Howard Gardner, Ph.D.
Author of Multiple IntelligencesFrames of Mind, and Leading Minds

“Get a cup of coffee, your favorite Generative AI program, and Kosslyn's meet-the-moment book. You will be captivated by exercising the mind-blowing examples of what you and AI can do together to support learners.”

Dan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dean, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University. Author of The ABCs of How We Learn: 26 Scientifically Proven Approaches, How They Work, and When to Use Them.

“Kosslyn is a master, the master, at distilling principles of cognition and learning and making them easy to apply to education. Here he's done it again, bringing GenAI into the mix.”

Barbara Tversky, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Emerita, Stanford University and Columbia Teachers College

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, 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 & Director of Research

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.

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.

David Green

Director of Program Development

David Green, Ed.D., specializes in advancing learner-centered curricula in health sciences, medical education, and STEM education. He has taught award-winning university-level courses, mentored undergraduate and graduate students, and facilitated faculty development initiatives that support innovation and creativity. He enjoys evaluating the effectiveness of high-impact educational opportunities by continuously monitoring critical program-level and student-level success metrics. As a Leadership Fellow with the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and a Collaborating Partner with the Learning Spaces Collaboratory, he actively champions conversations centered on the intersections of physical, community-based, and technology-enhanced learning spaces. David holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.

Niki Gallagher Garcia

Director, University Engagement/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.

Recent Media Appearances

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