31 August 2020

Science of Learning Concepts for Teachers (Project Illuminated)
 introduces teachers to key concepts from the Science of Learning (i.e. cognitive neuroscience). The digital booklet is the result of a European project and its content has been compiled from continuing professional development workshops for teachers. It primarily serves to provide an extensive list of references for those looking to deepen their knowledge about the science underlying how we learn. This booklet is openly licensed as we hope the content will be reused and hope to update the writing and content over time.

The booklet is organized into six sections:

  1. Introduction:
    An introduction to the Science of Learning and the concept of durable learning.
  2. Learning and Memory:
    A description of how our cognitive system processes information and the adaptive function of learning and memory.
  3. Biology of Learning:
    An overview of the brain’s mechanisms for learning.
  4. Cognitive System Constraints:
    A breakdown of barriers to learning that exist in our cognitive system.
  5. Schema and Expertise:
    An explanation of our knowledge system.
  6. SOL Evidence-Based Teaching Practices:
    A primer on selected teaching practices that align with the Science of Learning (SOL) and are supported by empirical studies.

About Project Illuminated

Project Illuminated is an Erasmus+ Programme project (2017-2020) that brings together experts in education technology, teacher development and cognitive neuroscience to support teachers in making use of knowledge from neuroscience in their teaching practice. The project partnership includes universities and private enterprises. Partners are Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain), University of Helsinki (Finland) and Metropolia UAS (Finland), University of Western Macedonia (Greece), Advancis (Portugal), and Boon (Portugal).

The stated aim of the project is to increase awareness and use of effective teaching strategies that align with the science of learning. The Illuminated team develops the Open Educational Resources (i.e. free to use resources):

  1. The Neuroscience of Learning for Teachers Online Course

    The free, self-paced, online course features neuroscientists from the University of Helsinki sharing knowledge about understanding and enhancing learning. The course is for educators and consists of three modules: (1) Introduction to the Science of Learning; (2) Empirical Evidence on Learning; (3) Good Habits to Enhance Learning. The online course presents learners with a mix of videos, slides, audio, articles and tasks.

  2. Trainers’ Toolkit for Teacher Workshops

    The free toolkit provides resources for those wanting to deliver workshops on the neuroscience of learning to teachers. The toolkit includes speaker notes, activities, and a facilitator’s guide for two continuing professional development workshops teachers. The first workshop is ‘A Science of Learning Primer for Educators – The cognitive processes underlying student learning.’ The second workshop is ‘Designing Learning with the Science of Learning  – Cognitive principles applied ​to the design of learning.’ The toolkit is available in English, Spanish, Finnish, Greek, and Portuguese.

  3. Science of Learning Concepts for Teachers

    An openly licensed ebook that introduces teachers to key concepts from the Science of Learning. The digital booklet also provides an extensive list of references for those looking to deepen their knowledge about the Science of Learning. The ebook is available in English, Spanish, Finnish, Greek, and Portuguese.

  4. Science of Learning Strategies for Students Workshop

    The free digital materials are for teachers wanting to teach their students about evidence-based learning strategies that align with the Science of Learning. The workshop materials (slides with speaker notes, online surveys) are appropriate for high school and undergraduate students. The materials are available in English and Spanish.

For more information:

About the Contributors

The ebook is written by Marc Beardsley from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. A scientific review of the ebook was done by Mari Tervaniemi of the University of Helsinki, and Davinia Hernández-Leo from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Footnotes and editing have been contributed by Marcel Ruiz-Mejías.

Marc Beardsley is a researcher at the TIDE Research Group on Interactive and Distributed Technologies for Education from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain (www.upf.edu/web/tide). His research interests lie at the intersection of neuroscience and education – and include learning design, the science of learning , social and emotional learning, and responsible approaches to learning technologies research. He created the projects Illuminated and Spotlighters, and has led the creation of a classroom tool for social and emotional learning (https://classmood.upf.edu/).

Dr. Mari Tervaniemi acts as a research director in Cicero Learning, Faculty of Educational Sciences (www.cicero.fi) and co-director of Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine (www.cbru.helsinki.fi) at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She has published over 180 empirical papers and reviews in peer-reviewed international journals and several invited book chapters. She conducts research in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience, Learning Sciences, Cognitive Psychology and Neuropsychology with a focus on auditory learning and the brain basis of musical expertise and music emotions.

Dr. Davinia Hernández-Leo is Full Professor at the Department of Information and Communications Technologies Department (DTIC) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain. She is the coordinator of the Interactive and Distributed Technologies for Education group (TIDE), Vice-Dean of the UPF Engineering School and the Head of its Unit for Teaching Quality and Innovation. She has (co-)authored over 100 scientific publications and has also received Teaching Awards (Vicens Vives) and the ICREA Academia Award from the Catalan Government in 2019.

Dr. Marcel Ruiz-Mejías is a teacher of biomedicine at the Escola Pia de Sarrià-Calassanç and a researcher and lecturer in the Health Sciences Educational Research Group (GRECS) at the Pompeu Fabra University. He has published about the mechanisms and alterations of cortical waves, inquiry learning and the support of neuroscience to education. He is a member of the Chair of Neuroeducation UB – EDU1ST, where he mainly works as editor-in-chief of the research journal Journal of Neuroeducation. He is editor in other research and outreach journals for young people in the field.

Use of this Booklet

The objective of this openly licensed book is for it to be shared and remixed by others. We want to enable others to reuse and remix the content to fit their needs. Note the Creative Commons license at the footer of each chapter that describes how the content can be used. Additionally, an intention is for this book to be continuously updated. If you have suggestions for new content, to improve the readability and usefulness of the book, or would like to provide general feedback, please use the following survey form (https://forms.gle/afZjGU365nqw9CCm6).

Citation – English

To cite this book in APA, please use this format:

Beardsley, M. 2020. Science of Learning Concepts for Teachers (Project Illuminated) (1st ed.). Retrieved from https://illuminated.pressbooks.com/

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein


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Science of Learning Concepts for Teachers (Project Illuminated) Copyright © 2020 by Marc Beardsley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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