Author: Amelia Peterson

The Learning Sciences: Two Perspectives

March 5, 2018 by

Amelia Peterson

In recent years, there has been a lot more talk in Education about the science of learning. With developments in psychology and neuroscience, the thinking goes, we should be able to build a core body of knowledge on learning to inform how we teach and organise education. Efforts to synthesize this knowledge include the OECD report The Nature of Learning and the National Research Council’s How People Learn.

When it comes to moving from knowledge to action, however, the learning sciences seem to break up into two different perspectives. One is represented by the Innovative Learning Environments work that developed out of The Nature of Learning, and its seven principles emphasizing the personal and social aspects of learning. From this perspective, the most important tenet is that a learner has to actively engage in constructing their new knowledge and skills. It aligns with constructivist or Vygotskian traditions, but also builds on the work of Kurt Fischer and pioneers of his Mind, Brain and Education (MBE) subfield, including Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Vanessa Rodriguez and Christina Hinton. Drawing equally on neuroscience and behavioural studies which hone in on the individual dynamics of learning and teaching, this perspective brought the role of emotions, embodied cognition and social context to the forefront. (more…)

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