Kevin Crowley

I am director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), which is a project of the Learning Research and Development Center and the School of Education. UPCLOSE conceptualizes, develops, and studies informal learning experiences. Our work explores what it means to learn and change as a result of activity in everyday environments including museums, commercial and community settings, on the web, and at home. We connect academic theory and real world practice. Our research focuses on relationships between learners, mediators, and environments, and experiences.


Academic Title



Other Titles

Director of UPCLOSE


Contact Information

822 LRDC


Program Affiliations



Research Interests

Informal learning



  • PhD, Carnegie Mellon University (1994)
  • MA, Carnegie Mellon University (1991)
  • BA, Swarthmore College (1989)


Time at University of Pittsburgh

Since 1997


Professional Experience

At various times at Pitt, I've been faculty in Learning Sciences and Policy, Cognitive Studies, and Cognitive Psychology (by cross appointment)

Distinguished Fellow for Research and Practice at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (2012-2014)

Visiting Professor, University of Tokyo (2014)

Director of Research and Evaluation, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, (2003-2006)


Recent Publications

Crowley, K., Pierroux, P., & Knutson, K. (2014). The museum as learning environment. In K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Handbook of the Learning Sciences, 2nd Edition.

Crowley, K., Barron, B.J., Knutson, K., & Martin, C. (2014). Interest and the Development of Pathways To Science. In Interest in Mathematics and Science Learning and Related Activity. In K. A. Renninger, M. Nieswandt, and S. Hidi (Eds.). Washington DC: AERA.

Allen, L. A. & Crowley, K. (2014). How museum educators change: Changing notions of learning through changing practice. Science Education, 98 (1), 84-105.

Steiner, M.A. & Crowley, K. (2013). The natural history museum: Taking on a learning research agenda. Curator: The Museum Journal. 56(2): 267-272.

Russell, J., Knutson, K., & Crowley, K. (2013).  Informal learning organizations as part of an educational ecology: Lessons from collaboration across the formal/informal divide. Journal of Educational Change 14(3): 259-281.