New developments in the science of learning: Using research to help students learn science and mathematics
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21, 1-11
Researchers in cognitive science are producing exciting new knowledge about how the human brain functions and how people acquire knowledge and develop understanding. At the same time, educators and policy makers are working hard to reform science and mathematics education around high standards for student learning. The interaction of these two trends has made it possible and desirable to design science curricula and instructional practices grounded in solid research about how people learn. The ultimate success of these advances depends on whether they will produce change in real learning environments. The series of papers in this special issue represent some of the best current thinking about how to accomplish that goal. Four papers (Carey, Miller, Gelman, and Schauble & Lehrer) present a range of developmental issues that are involved in effective learning. They discuss the facilitation of symbolic cognitive representation that is needed for science and mathematics. Two papers (Dunbar and Bransford et al.) identify and discuss issues of expertise and experts' learning and the supporting environments that enable scientific thinking. A set of three papers on tertiary learning (Redish, Chapman, and Larkin) round out the discussion of the development of students' scientific reasoning. A set of commentaries (Simon, Glaser, and Shulman) on the growth of scientific thought conclude the discussion.