Rethinking Education: Can We Use Neuroscience to Create Better Learners? | LEARNING AND COGNITION |

There are many neurological capacities that constitute the underpinnings of learning, even when learning is defined broadly to include reading, math, social communication, emotional well-being, and creativity. These universal building blocks for learning include:



 - Attention, the ability to focus across time on relevant information and ignore distractions


 - Prediction, the ability to anticipate what is about to come next


 - Memory; of which there are several different component parts including short and long term memory, memory for episode in your life  (episodic memory) and memory for facts (declarative memory).


 - Processing speed; how fast incoming sensory and motor information can be detected, discriminated, sequenced


-  Spatial skills; how information in space is perceived, manipulated and stored


 - Executive functions; higher level cognitive functions such as inhibitory control, planning, reasoning, decision making.


Improving one or more of these neural capacities/competencies has been shown to improve student performance, independent of content (language, math, science) or curriculum used.  This is a far-reaching and potentially revolutionary conclusion that is contrary to the current beliefs of many teachers, administrators, parents and students, who have historically emphasized curriculum as the key to improved learning.