About Us

The Institute for Learning (IFL) is the outreach of the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) that bridges research and practice. With the expertise of our Fellows, the IFL helps educators bring research-backed teaching and learning into classrooms, helping students reach the high standards demanded by today’s colleges and workforce.

    • The IFL serves as a professional development leader. We design instructional materials, interventions, strategies, formative assessments, and other K12 resources that increase instructional effectiveness.
    • We provide educational services. We offer customized coaching and consulting designed to meet districts where they are in the school reform process.
    • We operate as a think tank. We bring educators the best current knowledge and research about learning processes and principles of instruction. We convene superintendents, other administrators, and principals from partner districts to share their experiences and best practices.
    • We offer research-based solutions to the challenges facing public education. Our work has been evaluated by independent research organizations, including the Institute of Education Sciences, RAND Corporation, and MDRC, among others.


The Institute for Learning (IFL) was founded in 1995 by Lauren Resnick, an internationally renowned cognitive psychologist and senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. It was created to help schools and districts provide opportunities for all students to reach or exceed world-class standards. At the time, the education community was focused on developing standards, not on ensuring that students could meet them. State policy makers and urban superintendents approached Resnick, a leader in the standards movement, and asked her to address this gap.

Resnick’s first task was to assemble a team of expert practitioners and school and district leaders who synthesized decades of learning research to develop the Principles of Learning. These nine principles are the foundation of the IFL’s work and provide a common lens for analyzing and improving teaching and learning.

Lauren retired as co-director in 2016 and our work has continued to expand and grow in support of all students, especially those traditionally underserved. We combine curriculum design and assessments with professional development tools to build to support implementation at the classroom, school, and district levels.

Because of the IFL’s commitment to bridging research and practice, we’ve welcomed studies by numerous researchers including Isabel Beck, Richard (Rip) Correnti, Paul Cobb, Jane David, Robert Flodden, Linda Kucan, Gaea Leinhardt, Lindsay Clare Matsumura, Jennifer Russell, Christian Schunn, Margaret Smith, Mary Kay Stein, and Joan Talbert; and organizations including RAND, and MDRC.

The Institute for Learning continues to work with educators in schools, districts, and states across the country to improve teaching and learning for all students. Contact us for more information.