Stephen M. Kosslyn

President and Chief Learning Officer, Foundry College;

John Lindsley Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Harvard University

Primary Market: university and college professors & administrators; students in teacher

education courses; and teachers & administrations of grades 6-12

Courses:  Instructional Design, Educational Psychology, Foundations of Teaching, Distance 

Learning/Online Education, Learning Science, Active Learning, Learning & Memory



Read Rebecca Gotlieb's book review on the  Learning and the Brain website.


"This small book contains big ideas about active learning, both online and in-person. Kosslyn bridges his

knowledge of cognitive science with his experience in two education technology start-ups to provide a

pedagogical handbook of sorts. Using engaging research studies, Kosslyn begins with an overview of

basic cognitive functions, specifically how we organize, store and access information in memory. From

here, he presents his own taxonomy of five learning principles: deep processing, chunking, associations,

dual coding and deliberate practice. Then comes the lesson for instructors, as we come to appreciate

exercises grounded in these principles. After reading this book, you will abandon the lecture for a brief

lecture followed by active learning exercises, for example asking students to teach another student, to

take the perspective or others through role playing or debate, to create content like a podcast and

more. If your goal is to teach to make material stick with your students, and it should be, this book will

be your guide."

Kathleen McCartney, President, Smith College

“Stephen Kosslyn, one of the world's leading researchers on the science of learning, provides practical,

easy-to-use methods that help students learn more effectively -- especially online, synchronously and

asynchronously, and at scale. This book is an invaluable tool for all educators, and an enlightening

resource for anyone interested in improving current education practices.”

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera

“Every parent and student who were already online learners or who have been pushed by the pandemic

into the online world should read this book. Professor Kosslyn has dedicated his academic life to the

study of how human beings learn and has developed extremely valuable lessons in how to thrive in a

virtual classroom.”

Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator; President Emeritus, The New School

“Active learning is a good idea that's rarely implemented. Stephen Kosslyn makes here a persuasive case

for its adoption and gives a straightforward plan to create more engaging and effective courses. That's

no surprise, because he effortlessly combines enormous insight and experience into creative solutions.”

John Katzman, Founder and CEO of Noodle, and Founder and Former CEO of 2U and Princeton Review

“I cannot tell you how excited I am by this book! It absolutely is my go-to recommendation in the space

and is required reading for our whole curriculum team. It's the perfect combination of theory and

application with 0% fluff. I was familiar with many of the concepts in it, but only after ridiculous

amounts of reading and discussions around the topic. This seems to be the exact slice of the field

someone needs to actually build a class with the best teaching techniques in active learning.”

Aaron Rasmussen, Founder and CEO of Outlier.org, Co-Founder of MasterClass

"How do we ensure online learning lives up to its promise and potential? In Active Learning Online,

Stephen Kosslyn equips educators everywhere by delivering fresh perspectives on the science of

learning along with practical ways they can be applied in real life courses. For all the years I’ve been

involved in adult learning and active learning, this book still surprised me with brilliant insights and

made me think about how to implement his ideas.”

Mary Hawkins, President, Bellevue University

"This is a phenomenally readable, concise and efficient summary of the current science of active

learning and how it can improve your teaching. It is full of useful examples and clear explanations. While

most of illuminating suggestions are applied to online teaching, the practical advice here will also easily

be applied to any teaching situation. There is no better overview of this exploding field and there could

not be a better time for this book. Read it in a morning and have your teaching transformed by the


Jose Bowen, President Emeritus, Goucher College

"At last--a book that summarizes principles from the learning sciences that is at once both accessible

and actionable! Any educator at any skill level will be able to derive value from Kosslyn's valuable

contribution to improve the experience they offer students."

Michael B. Horn, coauthor of Choosing College and Co-Founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute

“Active Learning Online is an extraordinary work that will revolutionize the way you think about

education, and will shape both educational practice and conversations about effective education for

many years and decades to come.”

Daniel J. Levitin, author of bestsellers This Is Your Brain on Music, The Organized Mind,

and Successful Aging

“Drawing skillfully on a lifetime of teaching, conducting research, and leading educational institutions,

cognitive psychologist Stephen Kosslyn distills the key components of effective education—on line, as

well as in the “live” classroom. This book is timely and should be useful for any instructor.”

Howard Gardner, Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School

of Education

"This book is an essential resource for any teacher about optimizing their approach to online instruction.  Dr. Kosslyn strikes the perfect balance between outlining key pedagogical principles and dispensing practical teaching advice."

Stephen Bailey, Founder and CEO, ExecOnline, Inc.