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Rand Spiro

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Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

510 Erickson


Rand Spiro is a professor of educational psychology and educational technology. His research concerns new modes of learning with technology to promote what are often called "21st century skills," especially the ability to deal with novelty in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world. Spiro's theory, applied in his research, is "Cognitive Flexibility Theory," which provides a highly specified approach to the use of technology for the development of the ability to respond adaptively to new, real-world situations (instead of relying on pre-stored templates in memory). His research areas include: deep and open learning on the web, instructional hypermedia systems to promote the attainment of high proficiency learning goals, knowledge acquisition in complex subject areas, new literacies and new forms of reading comprehension in the online world, case-based learning with technology for independent knowledge application in non-routine situations in the professions (e.g., teaching, medicine), expertise and acceleration in the development of expertise, assessment of 21st century skills and learning in areas of grand social challenge (e.g., climate change).