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This three-part workshop will address the learning process from the perspective of research in the cognitive and neural sciences, and explore how educators can apply this knowledge to their own teaching practices. 


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Novice and experienced adult education (Math, ELA, and ESOL) teachers who would like to deepen their understanding of the learning process and explore using research-based learning activities in their classrooms

In three face-to-face sessions, you will learn about recent research on the mind, memory, and learning, and how to apply these findings to simple classroom activities to enhance student learning, engagement, and memory. Between sessions, you will implement one of the activities in your practice, adapting suggested teaching tools and techniques as needed, and share your observations at the next face-to-face session.

If you wish to earn PDPs for this event, after each session you will write a description of an activity you used with your students, explain its underlying principles according to the learning sciences, reflect on the activity's implementation and outcomes, and describe next steps to further refine your practice.  

Guiding questions for this workshop include the following:

  • What does learning look like on the neural level? What does this mean for educators?
  • How does memory work? Why do we forget so much of what we learn? How can we as educators create more durable and transferable memories of classroom learning?
  • What is retrieval practice? Why is it such a powerful tool for learning? How can you use it in your teaching practice?
  • What is the role of effort in learning? What is "desirable difficulty"? What does it look like in the classroom?
  • How can we create more meaningful, robust, and relevant learning activities in our classrooms?
  • Why is "student speak" essential to learning? How can you tip the balance more toward student speak in your own teaching practice?

The course components include the following:

  • Three face-to-face sessions (3 hours each for a total of 9 hours)
  • Application to your teaching practice (2 hours)

Total PD hours: 11

PDPs are available upon request if the following criteria are met:

  • Attendance at all three face-to-face sessions
  • Three written reflections on classroom implementations

For more information, contact Dori McCormack at

Snow date is March 20, 2020.

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the role of effort, forgetting, retrieval practice, spaced practice, elaboration, and multi-modal encoding in building memorable and transferable learning
  • Name several effective learning practices and explain their value by referring to research on learning and the brain
  • Plan action steps to incorporate research-based principles into your teaching practice
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)

2067 Mass. Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
United States

PD Center
SABES English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum & Instruction PD Center
C&I PD Centers Collaboration
SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum and Instruction PD Center
Topic Area
ABE/Adult Education
ESOL/English Language Learner
Mathematics and Adult Numeracy