Julia Phelan

Co-founder/Chief Learning Engineer at To Eleven

Education Management

Education: UCLA - UCLA Graduate School of Education
Los Angeles, CA, USA


I am the co-founder of To Eleven an innovative education consultancy firm working to create and improve learning experiences and to integrate new technologies and approaches into existing ones (both in-person and online). I partner with individuals and organizations to design and implement rich learning experiences grounded in science, human behavior, and evidence-based principles to move all learners forward. I have a Ph.D in Education from UCLA and prior to co-founding To Eleven, I spent over twenty years as a research and learning scientist at UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST). I am the author of many peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and regularly presents at conferences and I love to speak, write, and conduct training workshops on how to implement learning science-based strategies and techniques connected to how people learn.

I am originally from England and now live in southern California with my evolutionary biologist husband and three sons.


So many things put a smile on my face! One of my passions is to "help people teach things better, and learn things better"! I also am inspired by educators. I’d say one of my life goals is that the world would see teaching and learning as skills that can be learned and honed and perfected and we shouldn’t assume anyone can just roll out of bed a good teacher!

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

Everything is negotiable


learning learning science teaching strategy learning and development education learning engineer learning strategies

Best Story

Many stories about the biggest mistake that people make when it comes to teaching and learning, and that is not taking into account the context. For example, what the epic failure and collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State can tell us about how best to design effective learning experiences and the mistakes to avoid. I have many stories and anecdotes and movie clips I bring into my presentations to help illustrate points and allow people to connect what they are learning to their real-lives.

Origin Story

The a-ha moment, and reason I started my company was when I realized that "learning is hard: hard is learning". And if we can get folks to embrace this and really lean into all of the evidence we have about how people learn most effectively, and not how they "wish" it happened, we would be able to create contexts in which people actually learned what we want them to learn. And are engaged and motivated to do so!