The purpose of the Science of Learning Center at Gallaudet University on “Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)” is to advance fundamentally the Science of Learning specifically involving how aspects of human higher cognition are realized through one of our most central senses, vision. We seek to determine the effects of visual processes, visual language, and social experience on the development of cognition, language, reading and literacy for the benefit of all humans. We especially pursue new perspectives on these learning processes through the widened vantage point of studying deaf individuals and sign language as a window into the flexibility and structure of the human mind. We study these learning processes in monolinguals and bilinguals across the lifespan in order to promote optimal practices in education in both formal and informal settings.
VL2 is an international center that includes researchers and educators from many locations and disciplines. A primary goal of VL2 is to include teams of deaf and hearing researchers from multiple disciplines to help define and carry out the research agenda.
Gallaudet University is the hub of VL2 and is home to its two PIs (Allen and Petitto), its Translational Products, Tools, and Dissemination team (Herzig, and Malzkuhn), its Administrative Core, affiliated researchers (Piñar and Morere), and a large cohort of outstanding students. Its Executive Team entails affiliations with the University of California San Diego (Bosworth), Rochester Institute of Technology (Hauser), University of New Mexico (Morford), University of Alberta (McQuarrie), and University of Manitoba (Wilkinson).
The Science of Learning Centers (SLC) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers awards for large-scale, long-term Centers that create the intellectual, organizational and physical infrastructure needed for the long-term advancement of Science of Learning research. It supports research that harnesses and integrates knowledge across multiple disciplines to create a common groundwork of conceptualization, experimentation and explanation that anchor new lines of thinking and inquiry towards a deeper understanding of learning.