Neuroeducation: Learning Based On Neurosciences

What is neuroeducation and how can we educate our brain?

In biology and neuropsychology laboratories it is possible to investigate the way in which basic mental processes work:  memory ,  decision-making, discrimination between different stimuli, etc.

All these psychological functions tell us about the way in which our brain adapts to the environment and allows us to learn from our experiences. But … what would happen if the way in which our brain learns beyond the laboratories were investigated? That is what neuroeducation is.

What is neuroeducation?

Neuroeducation is, in short, a bridge discipline between neurology and the educational sciences, in which  educational psychology plays a key role.

It is a scientific development project in which we want to combine the knowledge we have about how the brain works with what is known about educational processes on the ground. Typically, the area in which neuroeducation focuses is education in school and academic settings.

The learning brain

The foundation of neuroeducation is a concept called brain plasticity. Brain plasticity is the brain’s ability to physically change to adapt to stimuli and habits in a useful way for the individual. Every time we consolidate a form of learning, it leaves an imprint on the way in which neurons in the brain connect to each other.

Neuroeducation serves to examine the traces that educational processes leave in our brain and draws relationships between this data and the way in which the individual behaves. In this way, the learning process is studied from the behavioral aspect and from the one that corresponds to neurobiology.

Learning and emotion in neuroeducation

One of the great discoveries that has been made through neuroeducation is that learning and emotion are not two separate worlds. We do not learn by coldly storing data like a robot would, but memories and emotion go hand in hand in our nervous system. In this way,  meaningful learning becomes a fundamental aspect in education, since it links important data with sensations and feelings related to pleasure that make us internalize them earlier.

In this way, neuroeducation emphasizes the need to use an emotional approach both in the classroom and in any educational context in informal contexts in which we learn: family environment, workshops, work groups, sports teams, etc.

After all, the engine of learning is curiosity, something deeply emotional and linked to subjective concerns.

Neuroeducation and care

Another of the main psychological aspects that are studied from neuroeducation are attentional times, that is to say, the periods for which a person can focus attention on an information channel without being distracted or fatigued.

The maximum time that most people can focus on a task is considered to be 40 to 45 minutes. Therefore, lectures that exceed this limit of minutes (most of them, by the way) are not very efficient, since several minutes are wasted.

Attention problems, linked to disorders such as  ADHD, are also very relevant, given that they affect many people and that, with relatively simple strategies, this part of the population could be helped to use their potential correctly by directing it to educational objectives, especially during childhood (which is a key life stage in psychological development). 

Thus, neuroeducation must also respond to people with certain diagnoses that reflect special difficulties when learning certain skills, and attention problems are one of those battle fronts.

The future development of this area

As a bridge discipline, neuroeducation still has a long way to go, as much as new discoveries can be made from the neurosciences and educational sciences. 

In addition, it is not always easy to combine the knowledge that is reached in both ways, so the progress that can be made through neuroeducation is not always agile or easy to carry out. That is why the potential of neuroeducation is considered to be yet to be exploited.

On the other hand, it must be taken into account that the cultural and social context always has an impact on the way in which we harangue and the content that we memorize and integrate into our vision of the world. This means that in order to investigate learning, one cannot give up analyzing the environment and the way in which we relate to it. 

As a consequence, neuroeducation cannot concentrate its efforts solely on purely biological elements, but must also take into consideration how the economy influences us, the type of people with whom we interact, the cultural and ideological elements that are dominant, etc. .

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