Globally, we are at the beginning of integrating neuroscientific and educational research. Previous findings have already shown the various relations between the cognitive-neuroscientific approaches of brain research on the one hand and the purely psychological and pedagogical methods and questions of educational research on the other hand. In the learning and teaching context, the latter explores if a specific intervention is effective, while the former also examines the fundamentals of these effects – how and why they work.
Since its foundation in April 2004, the ZNL TransferCenter for Neuroscience and Learning is concentrating on both fields of research, thus enabling it to transfer neuroscientific findings relevant to education from theory to practice. The interdisciplinary team of psychologists, educationalists and other scientists conducts fundamental research, performs evaluations and accompanies educational institutions in further developing their educational work. Accordingly, the three goals of the ZNL are the following:
Cognitive-neuroscientific fundamental research in learning processes
This research is supposed to answer questions like: How should learning happen, in order to make age appropriate learning possible at any age? Which neuronal structures are mainly involved? How does their functioning change with age? Which emotions lead to which memory capacities at which age and in which context? How is the recall of information dependent on emotions? How exactly does previous knowledge of the learner influence new learning processes? What does that mean for learning in adulthood?
Application-oriented research in schools and educational institutions
In collaboration with kindergartens, schools, institutions of vocational training and companies the ZNL seeks to implement fundamental scientific insights directly into application–oriented projects. In medicine the collaboration between fundamental research and clinical application has proven to be effective, leading the ZNL to apply the same model to the science of education.
Continuing education of educators to enable a rapid transfer of scientific findings
Educators are interested in neuroscientific findings relevant for educational practice and the possibilities of implementing them in the classroom. Therefore, these research findings are disseminated directly by those, who establish them – the ZNL.
The ZNL is part of Department of Psychiatry at University of Ulm.