Dr. Jennifer Kahn Thorne

Master of Education in Applied Learning Sciences

Gain the Skills and Credentials to Advance in Education or a Corporate Environment

The Master of Education in Applied Learning Sciences offers expert knowledge in the design of learning environments and curriculum that can be applied immediately in the workplace. Gain the continuing education credits required to maintain teaching licensure as well as hands-on learning opportunities within a classroom or corporate environment, with partner organizations or your current workplace.

Course Descriptions

Harness new knowledge and apply it

The Master of Education in Applied Learning Sciences gives you the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the behavioral, emotional, and other non-cognitive yet human functions tied to learning. The core courses include: Human Learning, Organizational Learning, Learning Environments and Research Methods. You can find more detail on specific courses below.

TAL 704 - Introduction to the Learning Sciences

This course provides an overview of the Learning Sciences, broadly construed across human and nonhuman settings. Foundations for Applied Learning Sciences include the dominant foci of learning, evidence, and design; and also, they attend to important themes of social and cultural diversity, variability, and inclusion and social justice. Students will explore perspectives and research on domain-specific and domain-general learning in and out of schools, especially those typically considered in the field of the Learning Sciences. Students will examine various perspectives researchers use to inform their work and how these perspectives provide insight into what it means to learn and know. The course objectives include the following:

1) Understand key questions addressed in research on learning;
2) Understand foundational and modern theories and perspectives in learning;
3) Understand how various learning theories are applied in domain-specific/general research contexts and their limitations;
4) Develop and articulate your own perspectives and research questions on learning.

3 credits

TAL 600 - Human Learning

This course provides an overview of major theories of human development from childhood through adulthood. This course will focus on the individual learner as influenced by individual- and social-learning processes; the interrelationships between human learning and development; social settings for learning such as classroom, business, and informal learning environments; the applications of learning theories and models; the learning of language(s), content, social practices, and reasoning processes. Emphasis will be placed on how social, cultural, and linguistic diversity interact to create variation in human learning.

3 credits

TAL 602 - Organizational Learning

This course provides an overview on how organizations adapt and change, including changes that could be thought of as constituting “learning.” Changes in shared values, structures, and practices can facilitate and/or hinder an organization’s capacity to gather, select, and process information, to retain that information, and to act upon knowledge valued and created by members. Emphasis is placed on how participants own careers fit within their employment or field-placement sites as learning organizations and how their efforts can help their sites to learn.

3 credits

TAL 652 - Assessment of human and organizational Learning

This course provides an overview of the assessment of learners in educational, business, work place, and informal settings, with an emphasis on considerations related to cultural and linguistic diversity. Topics include classroom-based assessment, high-stakes assessment in educational settings, testing for job placement and certification, and program evaluation. Among the assessment techniques to be covered are cognitive interviews, the analysis of group-based processes, discourse analysis, and focus-group work.

3 credits

TAL 705 - Design of online learning environments

This course provides an overview of technology applications in learning environments, including history, theoretical foundations, design processes, and available technologies. The course includes an exploration of online learning applications/software, instructional design considerations, and curriculum development for online settings. Topics could include multi-literacies, digital youth network, media and connected learning, web-based learning, AI and machine based learning models.

3 credits

TAL 706 - Design of formal learning environments

This course on instructional design provides an overview of theoretical approaches to learning that can be used to analyze learning environments, of learning goals for creation and sequencing of learning activities, and of how resources can be deployed in support effective learning. Topics can include the use of theoretical learning trajectories, tenets and applications of universal design, and social support and intellectual scaffolds for learning.

3 credits

TAL707 - Design of workplace related learning

This course deepens participants’ understandings of workplace training and professional development by relating learning to needs assessments; instructional design techniques; program planning, marketing, and delivery techniques; and evaluation of adult learning programs within a variety of organizational settings. Emphasis is placed on constructing training and professional development programs that are meaningful to a diverse workforce and that achieve individual and organizational outcomes to improve an individual’s and the organization’s performance.

3 credits

TAL708 - Design for out-of-school, informal learning

Learning opportunities abound in non-school settings including state and national parks, museums, after-school programs, community centers, theater organizations, zoos, aquariums, sports teams, one-on-one performance coaching, and even interactions between medical personnel and their clients. This course will include ties to sociocultural theories of development and learning as applied to out-of-school, informal contexts.

3 credits

TAL 709 - Applied Research and Development in Learning Sciences, Seminar 1

Students define and conceptualize a group-based project on learning within their particular employment settings. Groups will develop and implement a plan for a well-focused first effort. The project and its results may be submitted as a digital artifact making use of multiple media in a single language (such as English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Chinese) by a team where that language was used to implement the plan and where its use will facilitate the project’s completion. Each individual member of the team submits a paper defining their unique contributions to the project in such a way that it is clear that the work built upon and drew from course work in the Learning Sciences. Individual contributions must be substantive and should be complementary. Projects must be approved by advisor before it is implemented; if a language other than English will be employed, it must also be approved by faculty who will review and grade it.

1 to 3 credits per term, up to a total of 3 credits. May be used to meet UM Graduate School’s continuous enrollment requirement.
Students may take up to three terms to complete this course.


Qualitative Research Methods, Quantitative Research Methods, or Transfer of Credit Option

Qualitative Research Methods
This course provides an overview of the history, nature, characteristics, strategies, and ethics of qualitative research methods. Students engage in critical analysis and evaluation of various types of qualitative studies, including design, sampling, processes of data collection and analysis, and reporting results. NOTE: Applied Learning Sciences students should focus their work on methods of observing and describing variability in human learning.

Quantitative Research Methods
Basic statistical procedures will be discussed including measures of central tendency, variability and relationship, sampling, and basic tests of statistical significance. NOTE: Applied Learning Sciences students should focus their work on methods of observing, quantifying, and describing variability in human learning