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Faculty & Research

Daniel Wilson

Director, Project Zero

Lecturer on Education

Daniel Wilson

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (2007)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.496.6945
Office:  Longfellow 427
Office Hours Contact:  Email the Faculty Member
Faculty Coordinator:  Joelle Mottola


Daniel Wilson is the director of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where he is also a principal investigator, a lecturer on education at HGSE, and the educational chair at Harvard’s Learning Environments for Tomorrow — a collaboration with HGSE and Harvard Graduate School of Design. His teaching and writing explores the inherent socio-psychological tensions — dilemmas of knowing, trusting, leading, and belonging — in adult collaborative learning across a variety of contexts. Specifically, he focuses on how groups navigate these tensions through language, routines, roles, and artifacts.

This interest can be seen in three areas of his current work: 

  • Professional Learning in Communities: How do a variety of professionals come together to learn with and from one another? Currently Wilson directs the research of Project Zero’s “Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA),” an interdisciplinary professional learning community that facilitates cross-organizational learning on contemporary challenges of human development and change in organizations. LILA involves top leaders from twenty global organizations such as the Cisco, Novartis, the CIA, Steelcase, and the US Army. Since 2000, LILA has conducted dozens of explorations into themes such as the emerging science of decision making, the future of learning, and leadership development. 
  • Learning & Leadership Behaviors in the Workplace: How do professionals develop and deploy actions that enable learning in their everyday work? Wilson co-authored the book, Learning at Work (2005), outlines practices that support formal and informal learning in the workplace. From 2007-2011 he was a Research Fellow at the acclaimed innovation design consultancy, IDEO, in which he studied and designed interventions to enhance the learning and leadership behaviors in their design teams. Additionally, he is currently co-directing the “Leading Learning that Matters”, a research project with 25 independent schools in Victoria, Australia that aims to document innovative school leadership practices that support 21st century learning skills.   
  • Making Learning Visible: How can teachers and students create new forms of learning in which their identities and their knowledge can be made more visible to themselves and to others? Wilson was the principal investigator on the “Making Learning Visible Project,” a project that engages pre-k through high school educators in adapting the Reggio Emilia pedagogical principles

Since joining Project Zero as a researcher in 1993, Wilson, has also participated on projects such as: "Teaching for Understanding" (1993-1996), "Understanding for Organizations" (1996-1999), "Teaching for Understanding in Universities" (1996-1999), "Wide World Project" (1999-2002), "Project-based Learning in After Schools Project" (2000-2002), and the "Storywork Project" with the International Storytelling Institute (2002-2004).

Click here to see a full list of Daniel Wilson's courses.

Areas of Expertise
Sponsored Projects


21st Century Excellence: A Curriculum and Teacher Professional Development Framework - Continuation Year Proposal (2022-2023)
Centro Educacional de Campos

In 2020, Centro Educacional de Campos (CEC), a K-12 school network and teacher development center in Brazil, funded the 21st Century Excellence (21CE) project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero (PZ). The project’s goals were to create an educational framework that would enable students to thrive in today’s complex world and guide curriculum and professional development for educators in Brazil. The results of the initial year of the 21CE project were two white papers: Citizen-learners: A Framework for 21st Century Excellence in Education and Teaching Citizen-learners: A Professional Development Framework for 21st Century Excellence. This continuation year, from January 1 – December 31, 2022, will ground the Citizen-learners framework in the Brazilian context through a monthly online exchange with one or more like-minded Brazilian educators, with the goal of contextualizing the two white papers for different audiences in Brazil. Based on these meetings and related materials, PZ, with CEC’s input, will revise the white papers, and develop a detailed proposal for a second phase of the 21CE project. The project goals and outcomes are: 1. Ground the Citizen-learners framework in the Brazilian educational and socio-political context.2. Initial revisions of the Citizen-learners and Teaching Citizen-learners white papers in English for the Brazilian context. 3. A detailed proposal for 21CE: Phase II, to further develop and pilot the work in Brazilian schools.


Learning at Work: Research Lessons from Leading Learning in the Workplace (with D. Perkins, D. Bonnet, C. Miani, and C. Unger), (2005).

Fun Learning Matters: A Guide to Project Based Learning in After-schools (with T. Blythe and J. Boyd), (2002).

"Bridging the Idea-Action Gap," in Journal of the Institute for Knowledge Management (with D. Perkins), (1999).

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