Understanding learning: education and neuroscience
Educational neuroscience brings together insights from education, neuroscience and psychology to enhance student learning.
On this page
Why it’s important
As we discover and understand more about how we learn, we can use this knowledge to guide teaching practices and help young people achieve more at school.
Combining expertise from education, neuroscience and psychology can:
- help to develop evidence-informed teaching and learning practices
- dispel ‘neuromyths’ – common misconceptions about how we learn and how the brain functions
- enable teachers to understand the research that is already available.
What we’re doing
The Education and Neuroscience Initiative
In 2014, we launched the Education and Neuroscience Initiative in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
We funded six projects. Their aim is to develop and evaluate the impact of educational practices informed by neuroscience. The projects all had to show potential for being effective, scalable and affordable for schools.
These are some of the only interventions to have been systematically tested on this scale for academic impact in the classroom.
The projects are:
- Fit to Study: examining the effect of exercise on academic achievement (read blog post)
- Spaced Learning: an intensive teaching approach where content is taught multiple times with breaks in between presentations
- Teensleep: testing the impact of sleep education on academic achievement and wellbeing (read blog post)
- Learning Counterintuitive Concepts: using techniques that improve pupils’ ability to ‘inhibit’ prior contradictory knowledge when learning new concepts in science and maths
- GraphoGame Rime: improving pupils’ literacy through teaching phonics via ‘rhyme analogy’
- Engaging the Brain’s Reward System: exploring the impact of uncertain rewards – the opportunity to double or lose points - in secondary school science classes (read blog post)
The EEF has published a literature review. It examines the impact of interventions that are, or claim to be, based on neuroscience.
We ran the pre-conference at the International Mind, Brain and Education Conference in Toronto on 15 September 2016. Catch up with highlights on our online networking site, connecting educators, psychologists and neuroscientists.
See the findings from our interactive online event, held in 2015, which allowed teachers to ask researchers questions about the brain and learning.
- Read our Think blog for insights from expert columnists on the field of neuroscience and beyond.
More about our work in science education
Science education is one of our priority areas. Find out more about what we're doing to inspire teachers and students.
Reports and consultations
We produce and fund a wide range of educational resources for teachers.