For more than 150 years, education at MIT has been pitched around its motto of “mens et manus”—“mind and hand.” Students at MIT learned through a combination of lab work, making, building, experimenting, and scaling. The Institute has shared its distinct take on education with the world through systems like OpenCourseWare and MITx, as well as educational tools, like Scratch, developed in our labs. Now, with the new MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), MIT reaffirms its commitment to teaching and learning through mind and hand.
MITili is applying scientific rigor to the question of how people learn best, and becoming the central hub for educational research, learning, and innovation on campus. Brain and cognitive sciences professor John Gabrieli PhD ’87—Grover M. Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology, and an authority on the neuroscience of learning and memory—directs this flagship initiative. Modeled after the MIT Energy Initiative, MITili is the result of a 2014 campus-wide task force report that recommended creating a cross-campus research effort to study the acquisition, retention, and transfer of knowledge from myriad perspectives. MITili draws from fields ranging from design to economics to cognitive psychology. Operating alongside new initiatives focused on pK–12 education, the incorporation of digital tools into residential higher education, and MIT’s expanded presence in continuing education and professional development, MITili will yield discoveries that will be applied to improve education at all levels and every stage of life, both on MIT’s campus and across the world.