I’m not alone in carrying the banner for learning science. Others are talking about evidence-based practices, making it stick, and more. This, I maintain, is a good thing. Is there too much of good thing? Is there a problem with a learning science bandwagon?
First, let’s be clear. There are some initiatives that do strike me as redundant or worse. For one, folks have been talking about neuroscience. And I think neuroscience research is quite interesting! What I also believe, buttressed by others, is that there haven’t been any results from neuroscience that are essential for learning science design. All the implications have been previously documented from learning science research at the cognitive or social level. Neuroscience is cool, but its use in learning design tends to be to draw attention (read: marketing), not for any new outcomes.
I feel similarly about the term brain-based. Yes, learning is brain-based. Isn’t it a wee bit redundant to say so? I suppose they’re implying that they’re aligned with how the brain works. Which is a good thing. Still, despite the alliteration, it seems a bit more like hype than being informative. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.
However, I’m seeing more and more people now talking about learning science. That’s a good thing. Are they jumping on a bandwagon? Maybe, but there’s lots of room. As long as folks are actually digging into what the learning say, and not just paying lip-service, they’re welcome. To be clear, I don’t own the wagon anyway; I’m a practitioner, not a core researcher. So, I really do think it’s great if more and more people start talking, and walking, learning science.
I’ll go further, of course. I think we should be paying attention to what cognitive and learning sciences say about how we think, work, and learn. That is, the applicability of understanding how our minds work goes beyond learning to our overall organizational practices. But, hey, we gotta start somewhere, right? I think it’s good if we’re moving in the right direction. I can quibble that it’s slower than I’d like, but progress is progress.
So, yay, more learning science! C’mon, jump on, the learning science bandwagon; we’ve got space and it appears we’re moving forward. All good. Hope you’ll join us!