Explore our Professional Development resources

Professional Development

NASA’s Universe of Learning provides professional learning experiences containing current science from all of NASA Astrophysics. These experiences provide support to educators to incorporate NASA Astrophysics into their learning environment and strengthen 21st century STEM skills.

With these Professional Development resources, NASA’s Universe of Learning users grow in their knowledge of NASA Astrophysics by:

  • Professional learning webinars for informal educators

  • Pre-service courses and partnerships infused with NASA Astrophysics content

  • Professional learning workshops and materials for Astronomy 101 instructors

For more information or how to get involved, please contact info@universe-of-learning.org.



NASA's Universe of Learning: Science Briefings


The NASA’s Universe of Learning Science Briefings are professional learning telecons for the informal science education community, done in partnership with the NASA Museum Alliance. These monthly thematic briefings highlight current NASA astrophysics explorations and discoveries from across the suite of NASA astrophysics missions. NASA scientists and engineers provide contemporary science results, and are able to respond to listener questions during the telecon. NASA-developed education and outreach resources, matched to the monthly theme, are included in every briefing.

Audience: Professional Development



NASA's Universe of Learning: Informal Learning Network



NASA’s Universe of Learning collaborates with the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and Smithsonian Affiliations to create and implement professional development experiences with the informal education community. These professional development experiences draw on science directly from NASA Astrophysics, and support informal education institutions in developing innovative STEM learning models. Recordings of those professional development webinars are available here

As a result of this professional development experience, informal learning institutions have developed and tested sustainable models of innovative STEM learning for their audiences. These models utilize NASA Astrophysics assets and resources in making STEM learning more accessible and compelling.

The informal learning institutions are working to share their program models with the wider informal learning community.  Their resulting program models are collected here for other informal learning sites to download and adapt for their local audiences. These resources are free to use and may be adjusted in anyway desired.

View All Informal Learning Network Program Models


Center for Astronomy Education Partnership title, and professional development presentation participants

Astro101 / Center for Astronomy Education Partnership

The Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) is devoted to improving teaching and learning in general education, college-level Earth, Astronomy and Space Science (Astro 101) by conducting fundamental research on student beliefs and reasoning difficulties related to astronomy, and instructor implementation difficulties related to teaching astronomy. We use the results of our research to inform the development of research-validated curriculum and assessment materials for use in the Astro 101 classroom. These research-validated curricula and assessment materials frame our professional development CAE Teaching Excellence Workshops for Earth, Astronomy and Space Science instructors. The goal of these professional development workshops is to increase the pedagogical content knowledge of Earth, Astronomy and Space Science instructors and improve implementation of these curricula and assessment materials.

Audience: Professional Development

Website: Center for Astronomy Education

California State University, University of Texas San Antonio, and Framingham State University logos, and pre-service educators in training

Preservice Partnerships

NASA’s Universe of Learning is working strategically with universities that excel in pre-service educator training in order to accelerate and broaden the capacity of U.S. institutions to incorporate NASA Astrophysics content and expertise into their pre-service programs to support their learning goals. Those universities are: California State University, University of Texas San Antonio, and Framingham State University. This partnership is focused on supporting the traditionally underserved or underrepresented audiences of STEM fields.

Audience: Professional Development

STEMdex logo, and screen captures form the database website

STEMdex Database

STEMdex is a resource for learning professionals working in the astronomy education community. STEMdex's goal is to improve our community's knowledge and understanding of the educational research papers relevant to our work. This site will host a searchable database of summaries of peer-reviewed education papers, written by astronomy educators and posted for the entire community to use. While we are all aware that we should be basing our informal education work on a solid research foundation, many people in the community are pressed for time when it comes to staying on top of the educational literature. We aim to reduce that workload for the benefit of the entire community.

Audience: Professional Development

Website: STEMdex



The astrovisualization group at Universe of Learning aims to provide a forum for those engaged in science visualization activities to share their knowledge and experience via a series of workshops. During these workshops, attendees will collaborate on the development of immersive visualization products that benefit the science and outreach communities, as well as document and communicate best practices in the field to the wider community.

Audience: Professional Development

Conference: AstroViz Workshop