Dr Stephanie Macmahon

Lecturer in Education

School of Education
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 56497


Dr Stephanie MacMahon is a Lecturer in the Science of Learning and in Arts Education, teaching in both the ITE and post-graduate programs in the School of Education at The University of Queensland, and is the program coordinator for the newly established Science of Learning Field of Study. She has over 20 years’ experience as a P-12 educator and school leader, and draws on this experience to support her students in understanding how research can be used meaningfully in educational practice. Her constructivist philosophy underpinning her teaching also informs her approach to research, with two key focus areas that involve learning with and from others: human connection and learning, and knowledge mobilisation (translation) of research into practice.

Stephanie is also the Program Director of the UQ Learning Lab: a group of multi-disciplinary researchers, educators, and industry partners who collaborate to transform learning, teaching and training in diverse school and post-school contexts through the science of learning. Her research within the UQ Learning Lab aims to better understand the barriers and enablers to effective knowledge mobilisation in real-world teaching, learning and training contexts. This insight is then used to work with industry partners to develop, implement and evaluate contextually relevant, actionable, scalable and sustainable solutions to industry-identified teaching, learning and training needs.

Stephanie collaborates widely with multi-disciplinary researchers on science of learning projects using a range of methodologies.

Research Interests

  • Human Connectedness and Learning
    My research interests fit broadly under the heading of ‘Human Connectedness and Learning’. I use a science of learning lens - often in collaboration with multi-disciplinary researchers from across neuroscience, education and psychology - to explore how individuals across the lifespan, in diverse learning and teaching contexts, and using different modalities, connect and learn with and from one another.
  • Science of Learning
    Learning is a highly complex process involving the integration of biological, cognitive, emotional, social, behavioural, cultural, and environmental processes. The science of learning uses a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach to better understand how people learn individually and collectively, what the factors are that affect learning, and how we can use this understanding to inform the design of teaching and learning experiences, practices, resources and technologies. As Lecturer in the Science of Learning I am interested in the interconnected, embodied, individual and social processes involved in learning and teaching. In particular, my current research interests are in social synchrony and connection, the development of metacognition, emotional regulation and self- and social regulatory processes, the role of emotions in learning and teaching, and the development of positive learning environments.
  • Knowledge Mobilisation
    Knowing about research and the principles of the science of learning is valuable, but being able to mobilise this knowledge into real-world contexts – schools, higher education, vocational education and training, workplaces, industry – is essential if this research is to have a positive impact, and if it is to address authentic needs and priorities. My research into Knowledge Mobilisation has led the development of our Partner Schools Program, an evidence-informed approach to mobilising the science of learning into school contexts. In my role as Program Director of the UQ Learning Lab, I lead diverse projects that use a similar multi-disciplinary and inter-professional collaborative Knowledge Mobilisation process to better understand learning in diverse contexts including school, higher education, health education and the resources sectors.

Research Impacts

I work directly with key stakeholders in education and industry, building their capability in the science of learning, and co-constructing evidence-informed solutions to real-world learning and teaching problems and priorities. This work therefore enables real-world, timely impact on industry-identified outcomes. The impact of this partnership work can be seen in a range of learner, teacher, and organisational outcomes such as improved achievement, engagement, wellbeing, self-regulation, motivation and sense of belonging. Importantly, this work is shared through multiple academic and industry forums to enable access by practitioners and industry leaders locally, nationally and internationally, including in Australian Council for Educational Researchers (ACER) Teacher magazine, and Times Higher Education: Campus Magazine THE: Campus. The impact of my work in education has been recognised with an Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) Leadership Award in 2022.

My work in mobilising the science of learning into educational and organisational practice has led to increased interest in this multi-disciplinary approach to understanding learning, and warranted the development of the post-graduate education Field of Study in the Science of Learning in the School of Education and The University of Queensland, of which I am the Program Coordinator. It also inspired the development of the first Shorter Form Credentials in the HASS Faculty, a suite of four self-paced, stackable, credit-bearing modules titled An Introduction to the Science of Learning in Practice.

My breadth and depth of knowledge in the science of learning coupled with my research interest in effective knowledge mobilisation is recognised in the national and international invitations I have received to present and to facilitate workshops. These invitations include keynotes and presentations for the European EMBRACE Higher Education Erasmus+ Project, ACEL National Conference 2020, Resources Training Council national conference 2022, QLD Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference 2022, and Principal Conferences.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Music Education, The University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Music Education, The University of Sydney


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • (2023) Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision



Book Chapter

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

  • (2023) Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: