In biology and neuropsychology laboratories it is possible to investigate the way in which basic mental processes work: memory, decision-making, discrimination between different stimuli, etc.

All these psychological functions tell us about the way our brain adapts to the environment and allows us to learn from our experiences. But… what if we were to investigate how our brain learns beyond the laboratories? This is what neuroeducation consists of .

What is Neuroeducation?

Neuroeducation is, in short, a bridge discipline between neurology and educational sciences , in which educational psychology plays a key role.

This is a scientific development project that aims to bring together the knowledge we have about how the brain works with what is known about the educational processes on the ground. Normally, the field on which neuroeducation focuses is education in school and academic settings .

The Learning Brain

The foundation of neuroeducation is a concept called brain plasticity . Brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to change physically to adapt to stimuli and habits in a way that is useful to the individual. Every time we consolidate a form of learning, it leaves a mark on the way in which the brain’s neurons are connected to each other.

Neuroeducation serves to examine the traces that educational processes leave in our brain and to trace relationships between these data and the way in which the individual behaves. In this way, the learning process is studied from the behavioural side and from the one that corresponds to neurobiology.

Learning and emotion in neuroeducation

One of the great discoveries that has been made through neuroeducation is that learning and emotion are not two separate worlds. We do not learn by coldly storing data as a robot would, but in our nervous system memories and emotion go hand in hand. In this way, meaningful learning becomes a fundamental aspect of education, since it links important data with sensations and feelings linked to pleasure that make us internalize them earlier.

Thus, neuroeducation emphasizes the need to use an emotional approach both in the classroom and in any educational context in informal contexts where we learn: family environment, workshops, work groups, sports teams, etc.

In the end, the motor of learning is curiosity, something deeply emotional and linked to subjective concerns.

Neuroeducation and attention

Another of the main psychological aspects that are studied from neuroeducation are the attentional times , that is, the periods through which a person can focus attention on a channel of information without being distracted or fatigued.

It is considered that the maximum time most people can be focused on a task is 40 to 45 minutes. Therefore, master classes that exceed this minute limit (most of them, by the way) are inefficient, as several minutes are wasted.

Attention problems, linked to disorders such as ADHD, are also very relevant, given that they affect many people and that, with relatively simple strategies, this part of the population could be helped to correctly use their potential by directing it towards educational goals, especially during childhood (which is a key vital stage in psychological development).

Thus, neuroeducation must also respond to people with certain diagnoses that reflect special difficulties in learning certain skills, and attention problems are one such battleground.

The future development of this area

As a bridge discipline, neuroeducation still has a long way to go , as much as new discoveries can be made from the neurosciences and educational sciences.

Furthermore, it is not always easy to combine the knowledge that can be reached by both routes, so the progress that can be made through neuroeducation is not always agile or easy to achieve. That is why it is considered that the potential of neuroeducation is yet to be exploited.

On the other hand, we have to take into account that the cultural and social context always has an impact on the way we burn and the contents we memorize and integrate in our vision of the world. This means that in order to investigate learning we cannot renounce analysing the environment and the way in which we relate to it.

As a consequence, neuroeducation cannot concentrate its efforts only on purely biological elements, but must also take into consideration how the economy influences us, the type of people we relate to, the cultural and ideological elements that are dominant, etc.