Using research and making use of evidence from cognitive science to inform education is now becoming a hotly debated topic on platforms such as twitter and more and more educational companies are using the ideas to support students. Educational companies such as who are soon to hit million subscribers are a front runner in using these techniques and not forgetting the team at who post engaging videos, educational blog posts and enlightening strategies that teachers can use quickly.
I have compiled an A to Z to help those that a new to this research and of course those old hands who may need a refresher.
A – Ace That Test from the Learning Scientists. A team of brilliant cognitive psychological scientists who research the science of learning. Their blog posts are a must read for all teachers as well as parents/carers and students alike. They have a vision of sharing scientific research and making more accessible – they have certainly do that. I have been lucky enough to see them present at a teachmeet organised by the in 2017 and they completely transformed my thinking around education. The team can also be found on twitter separately – they are all well worth following.
B – Blake Harvard – The Effortful Educator https://theeffortfuleducator.com/ . Blake is an American teacher however has some very useful blog posts on applying cognitive science to education. Blake can also be found on twitter here ]
C – Concrete Examples – One of the famous 6 strategies highlighted by as a method to help students to study effectively. Concrete examples are used when we need to understand an abstract idea.
D- Dual Coding – using visuals and text simultaneously so the information is encoded into long term memory. I have further blogs on this topic: and recommend you follow on twitter as the dual coding oracle.
E – Efrat Furst – Dr Furst does a fantastic job at communicating and promoting cognitive sciences to education. She teaches out of Harvard University and her research-informed strategies have transformed many a classroom. Follow Efrat on twitter
F- Flávia S Belham PhD– The chief scientist behind applying cognitive science to education. Sign up to Seneca as a teacher/student/parent HERE and follow Dr Belham on twitter Seneca has a great cognitive science course for teachers that I very much recommend. My certificate for this is proudly on the wall of my classroom.
G – Google Scholar. There are lots of ideas in cognitive sciences and you will have your favourite techniques and strategies. Google scholar searches academia for research and if possible gives a link for a free PDF download. It is well worth exploring this. For example “retrieval practice classroom ” gives some excellent results.
H – Henry Roediger III – Professor Roediger researches aspects of human memory, how knowledge is retrieved and how this can be applied to enhance education. His work on the testing effect with Dr Jeffrey Karpicke has changed teaching for the better.
I – Interleaving – one of the 6 effective study strategies for students by the learning scientists. Interleaving is a method of revision that suggests you mix up topics during your revision schedule and is often combined with spaced practice. There has been lots of debate on best to interleave, Mark Enser does well to explain how to embed this into the curriculum planning as interweaving.
J – Journals – Keep education evidence informed by reading. Research schools do a great job of passing on snippets and research however I believe it is important for all teachers to read and improve, we expect students to do it after all. I currently subscribe/read two accessible journals that are written by teachers for teachers. One of which is IMPACT from The Chartered College of Teaching and the other is ResearchEd – I fully recommend them both.
K – Karpicke, Professor Jeffery Karpicke has researched and written extensively on retrieval based learning, metacognition and cognitive strategies. One of his most ground breaking papers was co authored with Phillip Grimaldi on retrieval based learning.
Karpicke, J.D. and Grimaldi, P.J., 2012. Retrieval-based learning: A perspective for enhancing meaningful learning. Educational Psychology Review, 24(3), pp.401-418.
L – Long Term Memory – After we have encoded and consolidated information in the long term memory our ultimate aim would be to retrieve it.
M – Metacognition and Self Regulation -a cost effective way of raising standards across your school. The Education Endowment Foundation have produced this guidance report to help support teachers in embedding metacognition. Lots of research is being done on metacognition and it is well worth thinking about how you can embed into your pedagogy.
N – Neuroscience – Neuroscience is the study of the brain and cognition is about acquiring knowledge and developing understanding. There is a great blog here by has a nice video here
O – Online Platforms –Seneca Learning has been developed using cognitive science and is a platform that many students across the country are enjoying and benefiting from. I have blogged about Seneca here.
Plickers is a brilliant and free quizzing tool in which you can collect in data from retrieval quizzes.
P – Pooja K. Agarwal – Dr Agarwal is an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music teaching psychological sciences. She is also the founder of retrievalpractice.org collaborating with Henry L .Roediger III. Pooja has a great insight into cognitive science and retrieval and can be found on twitter and
Q – Questions / Elaboration –Elaboration is one of six strategies named by the learning scientists in order to help students to study effectively. Elaboration is adding detail to what you know by questioning yourself. Why has this happened? How has this happened?
R – Retrieval Practice – another of the 6 strategies named by the LearningScientists.The testing effect has long been researched and the simple conclusion is the more you self test and quiz the better you will do. This should be done over a period of time (see spaced practice) and is the opposite to cramming and just reading material. I have written further blogs on retrieval practice and ideas of how to implement strategies here.
S – Spaced Practice- another of the 6 strategies named by the Learning Scientists. This is the opposite to cramming. I have created a few resources for my students to use.
Good flashcard revision will not only support spaced practice but also retrieval.
T- Teachers & Twitter – on the front applying and testing these strategies need to be in the A to Z. Twitter is full of educators that are passionate in the application of research informed learning, some of which are mentioned in this A to Z. Twitter really is the best CPD out there and if you want ideas to implement a strategy, twitter is a supportive environment for you to ask the questions. #cogscisci is a great place to start
U- Untested and Unproven theories (Neuromyths and Neurononsense)– Brain Gym/VAK learning styles/ left and right side of the brain misconceptions – you name them and education has –Dan Willingham has a brilliant and is active on twitter. See here a collection of articles that Dan has written which really are a must read for any teacher.
V – Volume keep it low. There is lots of conversation at the minute around if student talk is productive. Should students work bu collaborating in groups? is this effective? This is another great blog by Mark Enser “what does learning sound like?” and others from “noise” and “The power of silence“
W – Working memory – working memory is the short term memory that is utilised when we are manipulating data of some kind. Once finished with it is either forgotten or encoded to the long term memory.
Y – Years – how long facts will stay in your long term memory if you apply the strategies (hopefully…well that is the idea anyway)
Z – Zest and Zig Zag– From the zest of discovery and knowledge many teachers are now changing direction – zig zagging – in how they approach teaching and learning and their application of cognitive science in lessons.
Happy to take further suggestions – find me on twitter here