New Centre to research science of learning

University of Melbourne education researchers will help shape the new Science of Learning Research Centre which will use scientific methods including neuroscience and psychology to improve our understanding of learning.

Announced yesterday by Commonwealth Science and Research Minister Dr Craig Emerson, the project is being led by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), along with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the University of Queensland.
 
Professor John Hattie, Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the MGSE, said educators had become very good at transmitting knowledge to students, but young people needed more than just knowledge.
 
“Students also need to be able to assess and manipulate knowledge, and to think critically and analytically,” Professor Hattie said.
 
“This exciting partnership will help us understand more about how we learn, so that we can ultimately teach students these incredibly important skills.”
 
The Centre will be financed by Commonwealth funding of $16 million, with Victoria’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development also contributing funding and in-kind support.
 
The Science of Learning Research Centre will investigate effective learning practices in the light of current knowledge about basic learning processes, and factors that influence successful learning, according to Mike Timms, Director of the Assessment and Psychometric Research program at ACER.
 
“Educational neuroscience offers great promise for understanding how learning takes place in the brain so we can help all students learn,” Dr Timms said.
 
Ottmar Lipp, from the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, who will lead the Centre, said the Centre’s cross-disciplinary and inter-professional approach would enable researchers to develop a scientific evidence base to enhance learning.
 
“State-of-the-art experimental classrooms will be established in Brisbane and Melbourne so the neurological, psychological and social aspects of learning can be studied and measured while students are learning,” Professor Lipp said.
 
Researchers from the University of New England, and Flinders, Deakin, Charles Darwin and Macquarie universities are also part of the consortium.
 
The Centre is a key recommendation of the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council Expert Working Groupreport, Transforming Learning and the Transmission of Knowledge.