Digest #138: What Can (and Can’t) Neuroscience Tell Us About Education

Digest #138: What Can (and Can’t) Neuroscience Tell Us About Education

So, trust me when I say that I am all for cross-talk and communication between neuroscience and education. However, with the increasing excitement surrounding neuroscience research I feel it’s necessary to discuss some of the limitations of the ability of neuroscience to inform and influence educational practice. This digest collects a few different resources that examine this relationship between neuroscience and education.

1) All Learning is Brain Learning by Cindy Nebel @PsyDocCindy

Here is a previous blog from us, by Dr. Cindy Nebel, that covers how learning happens in the brain and addresses some of the misleading hype about “brain learning”. Be wary of any source telling you that it’s addressing “brain learning”. As Dr. Nebel explains ALL learning is brain learning.

2) The Emerging Role of Educational Neuroscience in Education Reform by Janet Zadina

This article gives an overview of the history, and potential future directions for, Educational Neuroscience. It emphasizes the importance of not over-extending conclusions from neuroscience, as well as the need to involve educators in the development of research questions.

3) Neuroscience: implications for education and lifelong learning by the Royal Society

This document gives an overview of some important findings from neuroscience and how they might apply to education while addressing some of the challenges that this area faces. Though it was written in 2011, they already note: “There is already a glut of books, games, training courses, and nutritional supplements, all claiming to improve learning and to be backed by science… At worst, this industry creates ‘neuro-myths’ that can damage the credibility and impact of authentic research.”