PEN #5 Leverage Context according to Outcome

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How ‘home’ and ‘away’ learnings can benefit students

fact sheet – video – podcast

Just as sporting teams are perceived to have an advantage when they play at their regular ‘home ground’, researchers have determined that this same benefit can flow from the classroom to improved learning outcomes. fact PEN Principle #5 copysheet

However the research has also shown that those that learn ‘away’ from one regular location can also have an advantage when it comes to testing. video

Australian researchers applying neuroscience, cognitive psychology and educational processes have studied research into learning contexts to determine the benefits or otherwise of different performance locations. podcast

The Leverage Context According to Outcome message is among a series of new PEN Principles – Psychology, Education and Neuroscience – developed by Australia’s Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC) to assist teachers, students and parents across the country.

These researchers have been assessing a range of teaching and learning processes in an effort to develop science-based strategies, tools and information designed to improve Australia’s learning and educational outcomes.

Their research has shown that students who prepare for an exam only in the room that the exam will take place, out-perform students who prepare for that same exam in different learning environments than where the testing will occur.

However research also shows that students who learned in a range of different locations performed better if they were placed in an unfamiliar exam environment when compared to those students not used to learning in ‘away’ locations.

Neuroscientists have seen that students who learn in a set environment demonstrate increased activity in the area of the brain linked to memory and spatial location.

The research will hopefully assist teachers get the best results for their students by adjusting learning environments depending on the testing context.

The PEN Principles have been developed in video, podcast and poster format to enable ease of use by teachers, students and parents.


About The SLRC

The Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC) was established in 2013, funded as an Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative, with the vision to improve learning outcomes at pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels through scientifically-validated learning tools and strategies. The SLRC brings together more than 100 neuroscientists, psychologists and education researchers from across the country, collaborating on programs to better understand learning, using a range of innovative experimental techniques and programs.