Key pedagogical implications of learning sciences research for higher education teaching

Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Research in Education, Teaching and Learning

Year: 2023



Key pedagogical implications of learning sciences research for higher education teaching

Nuria López




For more than a century, neurologists, cognitive psychologists, sociologists and experts from other disciplines have contributed to what now is an incredibly large body of research about how humans learn best. This is key research for anyone in the teaching profession, or anyone working in education in general. However, in higher education, there is still a gap between research and teaching practice. Intuitive judgements and habits, instead of research-based evidence, are too often used to make decisions regarding course design, planning of learning activities and choice of delivery modes. In the last thirty years, the learning sciences, an interdisciplinary field that seeks the application of research to real teaching and learning situations, has made a significant contribution to bring research closer to teaching practice. The purpose of this paper is twofold: firstly, to present an updated review of learning sciences research, focusing on its pedagogical implications for higher education teaching; and secondly, to provide teachers with a series of guidelines to reflect and implement research-based knowledge in the design of their courses and delivery of their teaching. Some of the questions answered in this paper are: given the limitations of attention and memory as essential cognitive resources for learning, what should we consider when designing learning activities?; what can we do as teachers to exploit the determining role of positive emotions in enhancing learning?; and how can we design more accessible and inclusive courses, to account for the cognitive diversity found within any cohort of students?  

keywords: attention, emotions, inclusiveness, memory, research-based teaching