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Tanner Vea

Tanner Vea
Phone: 814-863-7380
Office Address:
314E Keller Building
University Park, 16802
Campus: University Park


Assistant Professor of Education


Learning and Performance Systems


Learning, Design, and Technology

Other Penn State Affiliations

Affiliate Faculty, Rock Ethics Institute


Tanner Vea is a socioculturally oriented learning scientist who studies the intersections between learning, politics, and design. He uses ethnographic and other qualitative methods, as well as design-based research methods. There are two current strands of this work. 

(1) How does politics, as the contest over the definition and distribution of social goods, shape learning processes? Tanner's work in this area examines how learning theory can be used to understand social and political change in areas of activity such as activism, as well as how sociopolitical concerns shape learning in more traditional settings.

(2) How might we consider politics and ethics as essential dimensions of the design of learning technologies? Tanner uses adaptations of design thinking practices to guide ethically and politically engaged design with and in communities. 

Additional areas of interest include: affect and emotion, animals, critical theory, human-ecological relations, identity, ideology, materialism, and social practice theory.

Tanner is accepting applications for new doctoral students. Prospective applicants are encouraged to email him for additional information.

Areas of Expertise

Educational Studies

Critical & Feminist Theory
Ethics and Values
Media Studies


Learning Sciences

Methodological Research

Multiple Methods
Qualitative Research

Social Issues

Civic Engagement
Social Issues

Courses Taught

  • LDT 100 - World Technologies and Learning
  • LDT 537 - Power, Politics, and Equity in Learning Environments
  • LDT 574 - Applied Qualitative Research
  • LDT 843 - Learning Technologies for Good and Evil

Office Hours

By appointment

Education History

PhD 2018, Stanford University, Learning Sciences and Technology Design. MA 2012, Columbia University, Instructional Technology and Media


2019-2020: PI, Spencer Foundation, Conference Grant, "Learning to Engage: Politics and Civic Engagement in the Learning Sciences," Pennsylvania State University (with Co-PI Joe Curnow, University of Manitoba), $50,000