Department of Educational Studies Webpage

Purdue College of Education LogoDepartment of Educational Studies Logo

David Sears

Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Studies


Collaborative learning can promote impressive learning gains for students of all achievement levels when appropriate scaffolds are in place. While a number of ways of promoting learning via collaboration have been identified, much remains to be learned. Topics include how collaboration affects transfer, what types of tasks naturally support productive interaction, and when unique benefits of collaboration for learning can be expected. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, my research examines these topics primarily in the domains of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


Ph.D. Stanford University, 2006, Psychological Studies in Education
B.A. Reed College, 1998, Psychology

Selected Publications

  • Pai, H.-H., Sears, D. A., & Maeda, Y. (2014). Effects of small-group learning on transfer: A meta-analysis.  Educational Psychology Review.  DOI: 10.1007/s10648-014-9260-8
  • Sears, D. A. & Reagin, J. M. (2013). Individual versus collaborative problem solving: Divergent outcomes depending on task complexity. Instructional Science.
  • Dalrymple, O., Sears, D., & Evangelou, D. (2013). The relative pedagogical value of disassemble/analyze/assemble (DAA) activities. Advances in Engineering Education.
  • Sears, D. A. & Pai, H.-H. (2012). Effects of cooperative versus individual study on learning and motivation after reward-removal. Journal of Experimental Education, 80, 246-262.
  • Patrick, H., Mantzicopoulos, P., & Sears, D. (2012). Effective classrooms. Chapter to appear in (Eds. Karen Harris, Steven Graham, & Timothy Urdan) APA Educational Psychology Handbook.
  • Bryan, L. A., Sederberg, D., Daly, S., Sears, D., & Giordano, N. (2012). Facilitating teachers' development of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology content knowledge. Nanotechnology Reviews, 1, 85-95.
  • Dalrymple, O., Sears, D. A., & Evangelou, D. (2011). The motivational and transfer potential of disassemble/analyze/assemble (DAA) activities. Journal of Engineering Education, 100, 741-759.


2006-present Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


EDPS 235 Learning & Motivation
EDPS 530

Advanced Educational Psychology

EDPS 533 Introduction to Educational Research 1: Methodology
EDPS 591Z Collaborative Learning