WES Banner BG.png


Professor Paul Kirschner

Speaker Summary

Professor Paul A. Kirschner is one of the most prolific and celebrated educational scientists in the world of education, as well as a best-selling author. Internationally recognised for his expertise in the fields of educational psychology and instructional design, Paul also champions digital collaborative learning environments and resources. His seminal paper: “Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: an analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential and inquiry-based teaching” which revolutionised teaching in the mid-2000s. To this day, it remains one of the most cited works in education.

Areas of Expertise

Cognition – Psychology – Digital Learning – Instructional Design

Full Profile

Paul graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 1979 with a master’s in educational psychology. 4 years later he earned his Professorship at the Open Universiteit Nederland, where he taught for more than a quarter of a century as the Professor of Psychology and lifelong Learning and Professor of Educational Technology, alongside his continued role as a researcher into cognition and educational psychology.

In 2009 he was made chair of the research programme Learning and Cognition at the Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies, in 2011, he was appointed Scientific Director of the Netherlands Laboratory for Lifelong Learning. He took on further roles as Distinguished University Professor at the Open University and Visiting Professor of Education at the University of Oulu, Finland. He retired from these posts and has since taken up the role of Professor Emeritus at the Open University, Honorary Doctor at Oulu, and Guest Professor at the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences in Belgium.

Paul is recognised internationally for his contribution to the world of education. He is the president of the International Society for the Learning Sciences, and a research fellow at the Netherland Institute for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and the first European to be given fellowship at the American Educational Research Association. He has also sat on the Dutch Educational Council, where he was personal advisor to the minister of education.

He is a prolific writer, having published more than 350 scientific articles as well as hundreds of popular scientific articles and blogs for teachers and school administrators in both English and Dutch. He is also chief editor of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning and commissioning editor of Computers in Human Behaviour.


Paul is a best-selling author of numerous books and articles; this includes such books as:
- How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice (2020)
- Evidence-Informed Learning Design: Creating Training to Improve Performance (2020)
- Ten Steps to Complex Learning (2012)

Also speaking at the Summit:

Dark Background for World Summit - Small

Secure your place at

the World Education Summit 2021

Explore what is on at

the World Education Summit 2021