What We Fund
We believe that educational approaches that support authentic, challenging, active and relevant learning experiences can only happen via teachers and students. Our design-based research approach centers on teachers’ needs and their involvement as essential partners in a variety of classroom and community settings. We aim to conduct research on programs that may be adapted to meet the needs of the local, national and global context in order to empower student voices and support the wealth of diversity in the classroom as a resource for learning.
By combining qualitative and quantitative research methods in a carefully structured, three-phased research approach, we are committed to giving educators the confidence and guidance for taking innovative instructional practices to scale.
LER’s Grant Types
Development grants are awarded to educational researchers who propose a compelling and innovative approach to teaching and learning (authenticity, disciplinary rigor, active and relevant learning experiences, clearly articulated adult learning theory, etc.). Such proposals require time in the field to implement early prototypes with expert practitioners who assist in the codesign and redesign of the programs and practices based on the field research trials. These evidence based improvements allow for the development of a minimal viable program. It is expected that these awards will require 2-4 years of implementation.
Replication grants are awarded to educational researchers who have established an evidence base of promising programs and/or practices with a clearly defined minimal viable program that is ready for further study in new contexts. The primary objectives of the replication grant are to evaluate the implementation of the programs and practices with a broad array of students and in various school settings. Such research may result in further refinements to the program and practices, including the professional learning for teachers. In this way, the replication grant is designed to prepare the program for a rigorous large-scale study. In addition, the replication study may attend to system-level enablers of and barriers to the successful implementation of the innovation. It is expected that replication awards will require 1-3 years of field research.
Validation grants are awarded to educational researchers who have a demonstrated history of conducting large-scale research trials, with cutting-edge technical knowledge related to the most current research methodology and extensive experience with school recruitment, including incentives for active and sustained participation. Such awards are typically granted for three years.
Find Out More
Designing Project-Based Learning Curricula
This paper provides instructional designers with guidance on how to design high-quality PBL curricula, drawing on the LER research base, the learning science literature, and best practices from the field. To provide developers with guideposts that can inform design decisions, the paper describes a set of design principles that can support the creation of content-rich, student-centered experiences.Learn More
Interdisciplinary Education: Literature Review and Landscape Analysis
Related to project-based learning, interdisciplinary education can create more relevant learning experiences for all students. This report, produced by RTI International for Lucas Education Research, explores the field of interdisciplinary education through an extensive literature review and landscape analysis. In both parts of the report, RTI examines the definitions of interdisciplinary education; how, where, and […]Learn More
Project Based Learning Virtual Instructional Coaching Networked Improvement Community
This report describes (1) high-leverage virtual instructional coaching practices that surfaced from coach-teacher interactions and (2) lessons learned about the use of improvement science for testing forms and processes developed for the virtual instructional coaching model.Learn More
Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning
Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning is a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science program developed by the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.Learn More
Project-Based Learning in San Francisco: Research Study Sparks Middle School Science Curriculum
When the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) was looking for a new middle school science curriculum in 2016, it sought a program that would align with the new Next Generation Science Standards and the district’s equity goals.Learn More
Project-Based Learning: How It Can Support Your Child (English Version)
This resource can help parents understand the benefits of rigorous project-based learning.Learn More
Aprendizaje basado en proyectos: Cómo puede aportar a la educación de su hijo (Versión Español)
Este recurso puede ayudar a los padres a entender los provechos de aprendizaje basado en proyectos rigurosos (rigorous project-based learning).Learn More
Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice
Miller, E.C., Severance, S., and Krajcik, J. (2021). Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice: Design Principles for Teacher Learning in Project-Based Learning Contexts, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 32:7, 757-779 In A Framework for K-12 Science Education, researchers call for teachers to make dramatic shifts in practice – and sustain in these changes in practice […]Learn More
Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years
Saavedra, A.R., Liu Y., Haderlein, S.K., Rapaport, A., Garland, M., Hoepfner, D., Morgan, K.L., & Hu, A. (February 2021). Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years. USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research. Knowledge in Action is a project-based learning approach to Advanced Placement. Developers designed KIA intervention—comprised of curriculum, instructional materials, and […]Learn More
Project-Based Learning Digital Toolkit
New research demonstrates that students in Project-Based Learning (PBL) classrooms across the United States significantly outperform students in typical classrooms.Learn More
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