The Science Education Department is a national leader in the study of the nature of learning. Since 2000, major projects undertaken with grants from the NSF, NASA and the NIH include the development of misconception-based assessment instruments; research into identifying measurable factors that predict levels of achievement by students in both K-12 science and introductory college STEM courses, including massive open online courses (MOOCs); examination of professional development programs and their impact on teacher participants; research into identifying variables that predict persistence of students within the STEM pipeline; and cognitive psychological research into how individual differences in neurology, affect how people learn science.