Professional Development

LabLearner scientists and educators have performed professional development in countless LabLearner and other schools across the country. These PD opportunities are geared to relatively small groups of 25-30 participants and are typically held in either LabLearner labs (or other similar facilities in non-LabLearner schools).

While many specific PD topics are available, all LabLearner PD programs involve a neurocognitive approach to education that combines the latest neuroscience developments with established best-practice classroom pedagogy. LabLearner founder and scientist Dr. Keith Verner is either directly or indirectly involved in all LabLearner PD programs.

Although details may vary depending on the specific PD sessions, daily schedules typically follow a schedule similar to that shown below:

LabLearner offers a broad range of PD topics. However, essentially all topics are based on a blend of neurocognitive science and foundational, solid classroom practice. The goal is three-fold.

First, we aim to engage and inspire teachers who may not have thought of their careers as being so closely related to breaking advances in the fascinating field of neuroscience.

The second goal is to be absolutely certain that the information, cognitive processing, and skills gained at PD are directly applicable to the classroom setting. Each LabLearner PD offering and Summer Institute are therefore focused on increasing student gains and academic success.

Finally, every LabLearner PD accentuates our conviction that rigorous science and STEM education can not only be captivating but also fun for both students and teachers! Examples of current LabLearner PD topics are shown below:


Below this section is an accordion module (Select PD Topics and Representative Slides) that you can select from several PD topics to see a few representative slides. For a more detailed description of PD topics and options, contact LabLearner. Also, if you have a particular topic in mind that is not listed in the accordion section below, don’t hesitate to contact us – we would be happy to discuss further options with you.



Total cost includes presentation fee plus travel expenses determined by on-site location. 

Any 2 Keynotes can be selected to schedule a morning and afternoon, full-day PD. 

Contact LabLearner Science for virtual price.

Summer Institutes

LabLearner has a long history of successful, engaging summer institutes. Institutes are typically organized on a district-wide level and often accomodated 100+ participants. While the organization of LabLearner Summer Institutes are customized in collaboration with administrative personnel within the district, they generally divide each Institute day into discussion sessions and lab sessions (as shown in the daily schedule to the left), stressing hands-on activities for all attendees.

Contact lablearner for further information on Summer Institute costs and scheduling.


Understanding Why STEM-Infused Instruction Works

Dr. Keith Verner

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Neurocognitive Approach to STEM Education (Institute)


This professional development Institute includes essential components of STEM and strategies for creating a culture of innovation in your school. Understand how neuroscience can be used as an effective tool in teaching STEM.  Participants work with scientists and experts in hands-on teaching to learn more about their own brains and the brain of their students. Participants dive into hands-on activities designed to gain a unique appreciation of how and why STEM starts with science.

The LabLearner Neurocognitive Approach to STEM Education Institute is typically performed over three or four days. Each day of the Institute is divided between discussions and hands-on lab experiences, including cognitive testing, brain dissections, and neurological tests that participants perform on each other. Many teachers have referred to this Institute as a “career-changing experience.”

Specific topics include:

  • Understanding STEM: What It Is
  • Introduction to Neurocognitive Science: Understanding Your Brain
  • The Neurocognitive Logic behind STEM
  • Starting with Science
  • Building the Science Curriculum with Previous Knowledge
  • Science Concept Development Through Hands-On Experiences
  • Differentiated Learning in the Group Environment: Students and Teachers
  • Recognizing STEM components
  • Using STEM to solve problems
  • Viewing the Entire Curriculum in terms of STEM
Why STEM-Infused Instruction Works (Institute)

This professional development package is similar in some respects to the more expansive Neurocognitive Approach to STEM Education Institute described above. As the Why STEM-Infused Instruction Works Institute spans only two full days (8:30 AM to 3:00 PM), frequent reference is made to LabLearner’s NCEA BrainSTEM book. Students may obtain a copy of the book to read before the PD and refer to it afterward as a review and explore topics in greater depth.

Use Your Head: The Science of Learning


This presentation includes a discussion of what is known as the Flynn Effect. The Flynn Effect shows that fluid IQ has steadily increased since 1900. This is an effect that is worldwide in developed countries. The effect has been interpreted differently by various educational and neuroscience researchers. Correlations have indicated that the increase of roughly 3 IQ points per decade is associated with formal K-12 education.

In addition, some recent studies suggest that, while there has been a steady increase in the decades since 1900, that the effect may be slowing down in recent years. This, of course, poses many interesting questions.

In this presentation, we review the evidence and discuss the potential of science and mathematics education as a factor in the Flynn Effect.    This highly thought-provoking presentation introduces the audience to how many new tools from the field of neurocognitive science and neuropsychology may be used to increase our understanding of the process of teaching and learning. 

Science and Mathematics: The Pillars of STEM


Science and Mathematics combine to form the academic and cognitive base of STEM and STREAM education. Without firm science and math footing, STEM or STREAM programs may sacrifice rigor and work against students’ success in STEM fields and associated post-secondary education.

Science and math are essential to developing higher-order thinking skills such as convergent thinking, critical thinking, executive functions, and fluid intelligence. All of these will be discussed in terms of modern cognitive and neuroscience research. 

In addition to a general overview of the cognitive logic of the STEM approach, specific learning outcomes include:

  • understand the effect that diluting math and science in STREAM has on students’ future success in STREAM fields.
  • learn how neuroscience research can be applied directly to classroom practice and the development of STREAM programs.
The Science of Leadership: What Can Neuroscience Bring to the Table?


Successful leadership requires many cognitive attributes. Thinking and decision-making skills certainly are at the top of the list. But critical, result-oriented thinking isn’t easy – it requires work.

It has long been known that IQ alone does not predict success or successful leadership. Today we know that both “emotional intelligence” and “critical thinking” skills are much more predictive of success than IQ and, unlike IQ, can be learned, practiced, and improved.

In our session, we will explore the Information Processing Model of learning and memory and discuss not only how our own brains work in thinking and decision-making but also understand how our team members process information and work together in making smart leadership decisions and choices.

Specific learning outcomes include:

  • Participants will acquire a new awareness of their own cognitive procedures involved in decision-making.
  • Participants will be presented with a powerful new way of enhancing their leadership capacity by monitoring and improving information processing – both their own and members of their leadership team.
ADHD: Biochemical & Pharmacological Overview for Teachers

Why do we need to discuss the biological underpinnings of ADHD to achieve a practical understanding of the disease? Because this perspective lies at the heart of the singularly most significant point we need to consider regarding this disorder: ADHD is biologically explainable. It is not a figment of the imagination. It is not an excuse for poor parenting and bad behavior. It is not a way to dump society’s problems on the school system’s doorstep for nine months a year.

And yet, all of these things that ADHD is not tend to confuse the real issue: ADHD is a developmental disorder. As such, its ultimate resolution will come in the form of biological interventions, whether pharmacological, biochemical, or behavioral modifications based on good neuropsychology. Its resolution will not come from political maneuvering, pointing fingers, or assigning blame because these are not biological solutions.

To truly understand the biological basis for ADHD we need to get down to the cellular and then the molecular level. In this professional development session, we do this with minimal review that requires little previous scientific training – no more than experienced by a typical teacher.

Education: What Have We Learned From COVID-19?

The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on an entire generation’s neurological, social, and emotional development is unclear. It will undoubtedly be the subject of study by educators and neuropsychologists for years.

While designed primarily for existing LabLearner schools in the United States, non-LabLearner schools will also find the information and discussions in this short PD valuable as well.

Example Short Talk

Use Your Head: The Science of Learning

The Hourglass Foundation hosts TED-like, topical open talks in areas of public concern and interest. The video shown here was captured on an evening focusing on educational issues in Pennsylvania. You can view the lecture presented by Dr. Verner and his frequent collaborator and colleague, Dr. Paul Eslinger, a neuropsychologist at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine.