The mission of the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) at the University of Pittsburgh is to advance the science of learning by bringing together leading researchers in the cognitive, social, and educational sciences. This mission has guided LRDC in its programs of basic and applied research, its demonstration projects, and its direct support of school improvement and reform. In LRDC’s multidisciplinary setting, scientists study learning in its cognitive, neural, social, and organizational aspects, making research and development links to formal education practice, policy, and out-of-school settings.
Although the general mission of LRDC has remained constant, the center has pursued this mission by promoting research that evolves over time, informed by varied perspectives across multiple disciplines. LRDC’s research portfolio includes large programs of extended duration as well as single-investigator projects that are generally of smaller scope and shorter length.
Since its establishment in 1963, the Learning Research and Development Center has been a leading interdisciplinary center for research on learning and education. The Center's interconnected programs of research and development have reflected its mission of stimulating interaction between research and practice across a broad spectrum of problems: from the neural basis of learning through the development of intelligent tutors to educational policy. Among research institutions in learning and education, this interconnected breadth is unique. The Center's research has been equally wide ranging in the domains of learning it has studied. Reading, mathematics, and science, staples of education, have been a continuing focus over much of LRDC's 50 years. However, the Center has also addressed less-studied learning domains (e.g., history, geography, avionics, law), as well as the reasoning and intellectual abilities that serve learning across domains. Social settings for learning, including those outside of schools, teaching effectiveness, and technology for learning are all part of LRDC's research story as well. Understanding learning in its many forms and how it can be enhanced by learning environments, teaching, and learning tools will increase in importance in the coming decades across human societies. LRDC aims to continue to play a significant role in innovative research and development that furthers such understanding.