Powerful learning for educators. Every student succeeding. Equitable change for all.

What is the Institute for Learning?

The Institute for Learning (IFL) is an outreach of the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC). Comprised of scholar practitioners, the IFL helps educators bring what research tells us about teaching and learning into classrooms to help students grow their intelligence and reach the high standards demanded by today’s colleges and workforce. We believe—and research confirms—that virtually all students are capable of high achievement, if they work hard at the right kinds of learning tasks.

The Principles of Learning are a set of features that are present in classroom and schools when students are successful. They summarize decades of learning research. These theory and research-based statements form the foundation of the IFL's work and are designed to help educators analyze and improve teaching and learning for all students.

Talking with others about ideas and work is fundamental to learning. But not all talk sustains learning. For classroom talk to promote learning it must be accountable to the learning community, to accurate and appropriate knowledge, and to rigorous thinking. Accountable Talk practices seriously respond to and further develop what others in the group have said. It puts forth and demands knowledge that is accurate and relevant to the issue under discussion. 

The IFL's Content-Focused Coaching® (CFC) model maximizes the coaches' role as an instructional support for teachers in a content area. We take a systemic approach to supporting districts in using coaches effectively to advance student learning in ELA/literacy, mathematics, and science.

IFL fellows collaborate with teachers and leaders in schools on continuous improvement projects. These projects identify content-based problems of practice, determine their root causes, define goals and a theory of action to address the goals. Through the course of the rapid inquiry cycles, participants develop interventions and collect data to assess those interventions.

"The only way to achieve this higher level of skill and ability in the population at large is to make sure that all students, not just a privileged and select few, learn the high-level, symbolic thinking skills that our society requires. Equity and Excellence, classically viewed as competing goals must now be treated as a single aspiration."

-Lauren Resnick, From Aptitude to Effort



The mission of the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the University of Pittsburgh is to transform research into action, and partner with educators to give every student equitable access to rigorous, productive instruction.  The IFL is an outreach of the Learning Research and Development Center, and its services are strongly rooted in the decades of ground-breaking research conducted at LRDC.  The IFL is independent from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education and as a non-profit organization that only receives 5% of its budget from the University, the IFL’s primary funding comes from district contracts, grants, and donations. We ask that you consider supporting the IFL mission today. 



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