Kevin Crowley

Associate Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Professor, Learning Sciences and Policy, School of Education

Director, University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE)

Senior Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center


Education and Training

PhD, Carnegie Mellon University

Research Interests

I am director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), which is a project of the Learning Research and Development Center and the School of Education. UPCLOSE conceptualizes, develops, and studies informal learning experiences. Our work explores what it means to learn and change as a result of activity in everyday environments including museums, commercial and community settings, on the web, and at home. We connect academic theory and real world practice. Our research focuses on relationships between learners, mediators, and environments, and experiences.

Community & Family-based Learning Improvement Science Museums/After School programs

Related Research Areas

Informal & Life-long Learning Motivation & Engagement

Recent Publications

Yannier, N., Crowley, K., Do, Youghwook, Hudson, S.E., & Koedinger, K.R. (2022). Intelligent science exhibits: Transforming hands-on exhibits into mixed-reality learning experiences. Journal of the Learning Sciences , DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2022.2032071

Knutson, K., & Crowley, K. (2022).  Museums and community-based organizations partnering to support family literacy. Afterschool Matters, 35.  

Knutson, K. & Crowley, K. (2021). Family learning and literacy in urban settings. William Penn Foundation.

Knutson, K., Okada, T., & Crowley, K. (Eds.). (2020). Multidisciplinary approaches to art learning and creativity: Fostering artistic exploration in formal and informal settings. Routledge.

Knutson, K., Crowley, K., Russell, J.L., & Steiner, M.A. (2020). Approaching art education as an ecology: Exploring the role of museums. Karen Knutson, Takeshi Okada, Kevin Crowley (Eds.), Multidisciplinary approaches to art learning and creativity. (pp.218-231). Routledge.

Kevin Crowley's Google Scholar profile

News and Awards

Karen Knutson and Kevin Crowley were featured in the September 2022 Research News for their publication "Museums and Community-based Organizations Support Family Literacy."

September 21, 2022


Pittwire article "Research Team Sparks Community Conversation about Climate Change, "features the community outreach of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out of School Environments (UPCLOSE) Director Kevin Crowley, Associate Director Karen Knutson, research associate Mary Ann Steiner, and undergrad anthropology team member Sean Barill.

March 2, 2020


The Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation has awarded nearly $1.6 million to renew the Informal Learning Initiative, a two-year collaboration of organizations that includes the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE).

September 4, 2019


The Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE) involvement in Museum Lab was mentioned in the September 21 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Innovative Museum Lab Aims to Put New Twist on Education.”

September 21, 2018


Kevin Crowley, Karen Knutson, and their collaborators at the Carnegie Museum of have been awarded a grant from the Spencer Foundation for their project " The 21st Century Naturalist: A Research-practice Collaboration for Informal Science Education."

February 2016

[Person photo]


5806 WWPH

(412) 624-8116

View CV