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How do Educators React When you Talk about Learning Science?

“Brain scans cannot give rise directly to lesson plans.” The possibilities of bridging neuroscience and educational practice are both enormous and limited. Every Monday Pearson asks two experts–one from higher education and one from K12–to apply principles from learning science to today’s classrooms. This is part two of a series of eight questions.

Michael Britt, PhD: A lot of educators think that “learning science” is perhaps another very small discipline that they don’t need to pay much attention to or that a science of learning isn’t necessary. The traditional view is that educators teach and students take notes, ask questions and learn. And while certainly this is one approach to teaching and learning, it is often not the most effective one. We are learning new things about the best way for students to learn and all educators need to be aware of these findings: the so called “testing effect” has received a lot of attention recently and deservedly so since educators need to incorporate more short, lower-stakes testing into their daily classes in order to find out what students do and do not understand as well as to show students how useful frequent testing of their knowledge can be.

Educators need to realize that learning science is not a fad. There are indeed a lot of fads in education (such as “learning styles”) and only a science of learning will help us differentiate between what is worth spending time on in class and what is not.

Click here to see how research scientist, Liane Wardlow, responded to the question.

This post is part of a series, The Science of Learning – from an Educator and Researcher Perspective that was originally posted on Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network. Click here to learn more.