The Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh was founded in 1995 by Lauren Resnick, an internationally renowned cognitive psychologist and senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. At the time, the education community was focused on developing standards, not on how to ensure students could meet them. As a leader in the standards movement, Resnick was approached by state policy makers and urban superintendents, who asked her to address this gap. She created the Institute for Learning to help schools and school systems provide opportunities for all students to reach or exceed world-class standards. Her first task was to assemble a team of expert practitioners and school and district leaders. They began by pulling together decades of learning research to develop the Principles of Learning. These nine principles are the foundation of the IFL’s work and provide a common lens for analyzing and improving teaching and learning.

Shortly after the IFL was founded, Resnick asked Anthony Petrosky, a professor in the English department and School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, to join the IFL. As an award-winning poet and nationally recognized expert in assessment and instruction, Petrosky was instrumental in advancing the IFL's work in disciplinary literacy, and curriculum and assessment design. In 2012, Petrosky became the co-director of the IFL in addition to continuing his work as the Associate Dean of the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh.

The IFL's work has continued to expand and grow in order to support the improvement of education and achievement of all students, especially those traditionally underserved. We began at the policy and senior leadership level. Overtime, without changing our vision and mission, we have moved closer to the classroom. Our work includes the development of leadership tools and instructional materials in each of the four core content areas—English language arts, mathematics, science, and history/social studies for grades Pre-K through 12. The IFL combines curriculum design and assessments with professional development tools to build capacity to support implementation at the classroom, school, and district levels.

Because of the IFL's commitment to bridge research and practice, the IFL has collaborated with and welcomed studies by numerous researchers including Isabel Beck, Richard (Rip) Correnti, Paul Cobb, Jane David, Robert Flodden, Linda Kucan, Gaea Leinhardt, Lindsay Clare Matsumura, Jennifer Russell, Christian Schunn, Margaret Smith, Mary Kay Stein, and Joan Talbert; and organization including RAND, and MDRC.

The Institute for Learning continues to work with educators in schools, districts, and states across the country to improve teaching and learning for all students. We offer: