The learning of STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—represents a major priority of many out-of-school learning experiences. On the surface, it would seem like a simple task to define STEM learning. However, in reality, neither STEM nor learning is totally straightforward or easily explained. This entry addresses each term separately and then collectively, ultimately proposing a broader, less prescriptive way to think about how best to support the public’s lifelong STEM learning.


The acronym STEM was originally coined in 2001 by the National Science Foundation; unfortunately, the National Science Foundation never explicitly defined what it meant by the term STEM. As a result, more than a decade later educators have no problem agreeing on what the acronym STEM stands for, but there remains considerable debate as to ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles