The Science of Learning
Date posted: October 15, 2015
Deans for Impact, a group of education school deans in the United States, have released The Science of Learning, a concise paper summarizing existing research from cognitive science related to how students learn and connecting it to practical implications for teaching.
It identifies six key questions about learning that are relevant for every educator:
- How do students understand new ideas?
- How do students learn and retain new information?
- How do students solve problems?
- How does learning transfer to new situations?
- What motivates students to learn?
- What are some common misconceptions about how students think and learn?
And, it looks at the evidence related to each question and what that means for teaching. For example, for solving problems, research indicates that effective feedback is often essential to acquiring new knowledge and skills. The practical implication is that good feedback is specific and clear, focused on the task rather than the student, and explanatory and focused on improvement rather than merely verifying performance.