The learning science behind Pear Deck

Learning science research offers ever increasing evidence that learning is social, emotional, and academic.¹ ² It is clear that learning does not happen in a bubble and that to prepare our young people for healthy, successful lives we need learning environments to provide strong, welcoming cultures that develop good social-emotional habits and academic mindsets. Pear Deck is designed to support proven strategies in daily classroom instruction, making it easy for teachers to follow the best practices that reduce achievement gaps and improve outcomes for all students.


Pear Deck Logic Model

The Pear Deck Logic Model explains how administrators, teachers, and students use Pear Deck, what they do with it, and the outcomes they can expect to realize. Internally, this logic guides the development of our products, making the connection between key features and desired learning outcomes. For the administrators and teachers who use Pear Deck, the Logic Model helps explain why using Pear Deck results in more effective teaching, what the indicators of success will be, and what should be improved to increase efficacy moving forward.


Digital Promise Certifications

Pear Deck has earned two product certifications from Digital Promise, recognition that is intended to serve as a reliable signal for educators, administrators, and families looking for evidence that edtech products are based in research about learning and support the unique needs of their learners.

Research-Based Design Certification
Learner Variability Product Certification

Pear Deck supports proven instructional strategies

In building tools and technologies for use in the classroom, we are proactive in our approach to efficacy. We use peer-reviewed research to guide our product design and build into Pear Deck the instructional strategies that are proven to make a positive impact on student learning.

Formative Assessment

The use of formative assessment in the classroom positively impacts student achievement more so than almost any other educational intervention.⁵ The ability to adapt instruction to meet student needs is a critical skill in effective teaching. Pear Deck helps teachers infuse formative assessment seamlessly into each lesson and provides them with real-time insight into student understanding so they can respond and adapt. 

  • The Teacher Dashboard allows teachers to view student responses instantly, giving them real-time insight from formative assessments. This allows them to quickly adapt instruction to meet student needs. For example, the teacher can:

    • See students thinking in real-time and allow ample time for processing  

    • See aggregate responses to get pulse of whole class

    • Organize, filter, and manage student responses to see who needs support

  • Pear Deck Pop-Up Prompts allow teachers to issue formative assessment on the fly, making it simple to integrate whole-class formative assessment without pre-planning. 

Active Learning 

Active learning techniques are used to directly engage students in the learning process through discussion and activities. In contrast to passive lectures, active learning can have huge benefits on outcomes including reducing achievement gaps and increasing student achievement. ³

  • Pear Deck’s pre-made and custom interactive prompts get every student actively engaging with the lesson content. 

  • When teachers share student responses anonymously with the class via the Pear Deck Teacher Dashboard, they can spark rich discussions. This practice makes space for even the quietest voices in the room to participate, ensures that students actively engage and see their own ideas discussed, and helps students learn from each other.

Retrieval Practice

Retrieval practice is a key element of learning helping students turn passively-absorbed information into real understanding and knowledge. By recalling something they’ve learned, students encode that information more deeply, helping them retain it over time. Retrieval practice is related to active learning in that students are prompted to actively think about and process information previously learned. ⁴

  • Pear Deck pre-made and custom Interactive prompts get every student actively engaging with the lesson content and retrieving information.

  • When teachers share student responses anonymously with the class via the Pear Deck Teacher Dashboard, they can spark rich discussions. This practice makes space for even the quietest voices in the room to participate, ensures that students actively engage and see their own ideas discussed, and helps students learn from each other. 

  • Pop-Up Prompts give teachers a quick method to guide retrieval practice without needing to pre-plan or design a full lesson. 

Feedback Driven Metacognition

Metacognition is the act of thinking about your thinking. When students have an understanding of how to plan for, monitor, and assess their own learning, they are more successful.⁴ Feedback is an important element of developing metacognition because feedback helps students understand what they do and don't know and develop critical self-awareness of themselves as thinkers and learners.

  • Using the Teacher Dashboard, teachers can guide students when they feel stuck, correct a misconception, or describe what was great about about a specific response 

  • For individual students, Teachers can use the Teacher Feedback tool to give timely and specific guidance and help students develop metacognition

  • When teachers publish Student Takeaways students have an artifact of the lesson and their own responses that students can use for review and study. Teachers can access the Takeaways document to leave feedback, correct mistakes, and prompt further learning. 

Whole Child Practices and Social Emotional Skills

Learning is more than academic, it is also social and emotional.¹ Every student is different with their own unique needs, opinions, experiences, and emotions. To learn, they need to feel supported and valued for who they are as individuals.

  • The Lock Timer encourages teachers to slow down and allow for different processing time; this helps students know that they still have time to respond and reinforces the premise that their participation is welcome and valued. 

  • Pear Deck Social-Emotional Learning Templates remind teachers to make space for students' social and emotional needs. The templates are appropriate for any subject or grade-level and show students that it's ok to bring their whole selves to the classroom.

  • When a teacher shares student responses with the class, those answers are always projected anonymously. This is critical to ensure that every student feels safe contributing to the class discussion. Teachers can guide students to discuss differing opinions and approaches in a respectful manner, which leads to a more engaged and inclusive learning community.

Deeper Learning

We believe that the Six Deeper Learning Competencies are essential for students to acquire and apply with good self-judgment. Students in deeper learning environments perform better across multiple measurements, including on-time graduation rates and college attendance.⁵ These success rates hold true regardless of student background or prior achievement.

  • Practicing critical thinking and complex problem-solving is one of the Deeper Learning Competencies. Pear Deck Critical Thinking Templates remind teachers to make developing critical thinking and complex problem solving a daily practice

  • The interactive response types built into Pear Deck make it easy for teachers to change how students are prompted to answer or process their thoughts. Expressing thoughts different modes is an important way for students to develop effective communication skills, which is also one of the Six Deeper Learning Competencies.. 

  • Pear Deck is designed to help students learn how to learn; when teachers use features such as real-time formative assessments, Pop-Up Prompts, Teacher Feedback, and Student Takeaways, students are given opportunity to reflect on their learning, correct misconceptions, and develop a stronger growth mindset.


  1. Darling-Hammond, L., Cook-Harvey, C. M., Flook, L., Gardner, M., & Melnick, H. (2019). With the whole child in mind: insights from the Comer school development program. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  2.  Pamela Cantor, David Osher, Juliette Berg, Lily Steyer & Todd Rose (2019). Malleability, plasticity, and individuality: How children learn and develop in context1, Applied Developmental Science, 23:4, 307-337, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2017.1398649

  3. Elli J. Theobald, Mariah J. Hill, Elisa Tran, Sweta Agrawal, E. Nicole Arroyo, Shawn Behling, Nyasha Chambwe, Dianne Laboy Cintrón, Jacob D. Cooper, Gideon Dunster, Jared A. Grummer, Kelly Hennessey, Jennifer Hsiao, Nicole Iranon, Leonard Jones II,  View ORCID ProfileHannah Jordt, Marlowe Keller, Melissa E. Lacey, Caitlin E. Littlefield, Alexander Lowe, Shannon Newman, Vera Okolo, Savannah Olroyd, Brandon R. Peecook, Sarah B. Pickett, David L. Slager, Itzue W. Caviedes-Solis, Kathryn E. Stanchak, Vasudha Sundaravardan, Camila Valdebenito, Claire R. Williams, Kaitlin Zinsli, and  View ORCID ProfileScott Freeman (2020). Active learning narrows achievement gaps for underrepresented students in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and math. PNAS 117 (12) 6476-6483.

  4. Agarawl, P.K., Bain, P.M. (2019). Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  5. Bitter, C., Loney, E. (2015). Deeper Learning: Improving Student outcomes for College, Career, and Civic Life. Education Policy Center at American Institutes for Research. Received from

  6. William, D. (2018). Creating the schools our children need: Why what we're doing now won't help much and what we can do instead. Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences International.


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