In 2018, Assembly Bill 1809 established the California Education Learning Lab (“Learning Lab”) in order to improve learning outcomes and close equity gaps across California’s public higher education segments, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines.
Learning Lab funds innovative, intersegmental, faculty-led projects that aim to foster student success by improving online and hybrid learning environments, and leveraging technology tools and the science of human learning. Unlike other grant programs that support the development of online courses, course improvement, or supplemental programs dedicated to closing equity gaps, Learning Lab’s unique focus is to promote a positive feedback loop between learning theory, research, and educational practice, enabled by technology-rich environments, which can then be shared and scaled for the benefit of students.
The Learning Lab grant program drives curricular and pedagogical innovations; supports the creation and expansion of faculty professional development; accelerates early stages of seed projects; enables broad institutional change to reduce systemic barriers; asks teams to confront a Grand Challenge–focusing on a single barrier; and empowers faculty-to-faculty collaboration.
Facts at a Glance
in committed funding
funded higher education institutions
faculty leading funded projects
years of funding for each project to demonstrate their impact
Ingredients for Success
All Learning Lab projects contain four components—outlined in Assembly Bill 1809—that uniquely reflect Learning Lab’s approach to scaling student success. To view examples of funded Learning Lab projects, please see our Funded Projects page.
These components, when integrated into projects expressly focused on improving equity and learning outcomes, should lead to better student STEM experiences and outcomes across California’s public higher education segments.
Previous Requests for Proposal
- 2020 RFP: Enabling Institutional Change in Undergraduate STEM Education (closed)
- 2019-20 RFP: Using Research and Technology to Transform Undergraduate STEM Education (closed)
- 2018-19 RFP: Improving Equity, Accessibility, and Outcomes for STEM Gateway Courses (closed)
Awards by Grant Opportunity
Frequently Asked Questions
Learning Lab has an annual budget of $8 million, which comes from State general funds. Funding is distributed through competitive grants and supports activities that enhance teaching and learning.
This will vary according to the terms of the specific Request for Proposals. Generally, individuals who have a permanent faculty appointment at a California community college, a California State University campus, or a University of California campus, AND can demonstrate institutional support for their projects may apply as a co-principal investigator if the call for proposals includes their discipline. Individuals who are not from the UC, CSU, or California Community Colleges may still be part of the faculty team that applies for a Learning Lab grant, just not as a co-principal investigator.
STEM refers to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. While not all education researchers or education agencies classify STEM disciplines in the same way, we generally follow the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE). Learning Lab generally identifies the following as STEM fields: mathematics, the physical sciences, biological and life sciences, engineering and engineering technologies, and computer and information sciences.
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