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Why Neuroscience Should Drive Personalized Learning

By Matthew Lynch — November 20, 2017 2 min read
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While personalized learning is a growing market, we have long looked to how the mind works to inform education. The biggest problem with this practice has been the propagation of myths and misinformation. However, new research and focus on how the mind actually works can dispel the false ideas which hinder the progress of personalized education.

What does this mean for individual learning? Teachers and parents can help students succeed through new technology and methods which are supported by science. Applying verified ideas to personalized education can help students advance, and teachers make a real impact. For these dreams to become a reality, we must embrace neuroscience research. Here are the most significant reasons why neuroscience is necessary to develop personalized learning.

Verified Information

Educators looking to improve the education of students on a personalized level have many paths from which to choose. However, knowing which route to take with each child is much like a guessing game. Employing the findings of neuroscience can help eliminate this guesswork. Through the understanding of science, we can know how each type of learning is processed and what is necessary for short-term and long-term recall.

Helping teachers better understand and apply these principles is the key to neuroscience’s importance in personalized learning. Access to evidence-based information about how to cater learning for the task and child can transform teaching.

Memory Improvements

Another vital contribution of neuroscience to personalized learning is the understanding of how to build stronger memories. To quote neurologist Dr. Judy Willis; “A student must care about new information or consider it necessary for it to go through the limbic system expeditiously, form new synaptic connections, and be stored as a long-term memory. In other words, memories with personal meaning are most likely to become relational and long-term memories available for later retrieval.”

This assertion has been supported by studies including one by Neurofocus, Inc. The research found that individuals developed more meaningful memories when they had a personal relationship to how the information was delivered. For learning application, this can help teachers explore ways to engage their students in subjects on a more significant level.

Bridging Educational Gaps

Possibly the most important reason to let neuroscience lead the charge for personalized learning is the reality of eliminating educational gaps. As noted by UNESCO in November 2008; “governments, as well as all the other social actors, have an important role in providing a quality education for all and, in doing so, should recognize the importance of a broadened concept of inclusive education that addresses the diverse needs of all learners and that is relevant, equitable and effective.”

It’s essential that we understand how to target learning for different types of minds, how to overcome learning disabilities, and how to engage with each student effectively. Neuroscience is the key to providing opportunities in learning to all students without prejudice.

What is your experience with personalized learning tactics? Have you benefited from educational advancements in neuroscience? We want to hear your experiences and ideas.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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