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Kevin Pugh

Kevin Pugh


Psychological Sciences
Education and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Information

McKee Hall 63
Mailing Address
University of Northern Colorado
Psychological Sciences
Campus Box 94
Geeley, CO 80639


Ph.D. - Educational Psychology: Learning & Cognition, Michigan State University, MI

B.S. – Psychology, Brigham Young University, UT

Professional/Academic Experience

After his Ph.D., Kevin Pugh held an appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo. He joined the University of Northern Colorado in 2006.

Dr. Pugh is known for his work on transformative experience theory and has published his research in top tier journals including Educational Psychologist, Educational Researcher, the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and others. He has obtained grants from the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. He currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Experimental Education.

Dr. Pugh recently published a book on learning for in-service and pre-service teachers: Computers, Cockroaches, and Ecosystems: Understanding Learning through Metaphor. Find more information on this book on the Learning and Experience Blog.

Research/Areas of Interest

Dr. Pugh primarily teaches courses on learning theory, cognition, and motivation, both online and face-to-face. His teaching practice emphasizes transformative, authentic, and problem-based learning. As an example, read about the Calvin Project in which pre-service teachers learn about motivation by trying to solve Calvin’s motivation problems (yes, Calvin is the one from the Calvin & Hobbes comic).

Dr. Pugh is a pioneer in the development of transformative experience theory. This theory seeks to understand why learning is more transformative for some students and how to foster transformative learning for all students. The theory is based on Dewey’s theory of aesthetic experience and defines transformative experience as those experiences in which students come to see and experience the world in meaningful new ways as a result of learning new ideas in school. Find more information on transformative experience theory and a list of relevant articles on the Learning and Experience Blog.

Dr. Pugh’s broader research interests and expertise include a study of motivation, learning transfer, science education, problem-based learning, and Dewey’s philosophy of education.

Publications/Creative Works

Recent Publications

Pugh, K. J. (2017). Computers, cockroaches and ecosystems: Understanding learning through metaphor. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Pugh, K. J., Bergstrom, C. R., Krob, K. E., & Heddy, B. C. (2017). Supporting deep engagement: The Teaching for Transformative Experience in Science (TTES) Model. Journal of Experimental Education, 85, 629-657. doi:10.1080/00220973.2016.1277333

Pugh, K. J., Bergstrom, C. M., & Spencer, B. (2017). Profiles of transformative engagement: Identification, description, and relation to learning and instruction. Science Education, 101, 369-398. doi:10.1002/sce.21270

Garner, J. K., Kaplan, A., & Pugh, K. J. (2016). Museums as contexts for transformative experiences and identity development. Journal of Museum Education, 41, 341-352. doi:10.1080/10598650.2016.1199343

Koskey, K., Stewart, V., Sondergeld, T., & Pugh, K. J. (2016). Applying the mixed methods instrument development and construct validity process: The case of the transformative experience questionnaire. Journal of Mixed Methods Research. Advance Online Publication. doi:10.1177/1558689816633310

Bergstrom, C., Pugh, K. J., & Phillips, M. (2016). Effects of problem-based learning on recognition learning and transfer accounting for GPA and goal orientation. Journal of Experimental Education. Advance Online Publication. doi:10.1080/00220973.2015.1083521

Website, Blog, and Social Media

Check out Dr. Pugh's personal website and blog at https://learningandexperienceblog.wordpress.com/.

You can also reach him directly on Twitter @pugh_learning.

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