Brain science for learning: 10 experts to follow

Posted on May 26, 2016

10 brain science figures you should be following

Having an understanding of research and evidence is essential for effective learning design.

Cognitive science (often called brain science) is an exciting field of study that covers many disciplines.

More and more L&D professionals are using this scientific-based research to inform their thinking but it can be hard to stay on top of new theories.

We’ve curated a list of ten ‘brain science experts’ for learning, including neuroscientists, psychologists and learning leaders who reference research-backed techniques.

Whether you’re starting out with brain science or updating your current list of ‘go-to’ gurus, this list has something for everyone.

Dr Itiel DrorDr Itiel Dror

Senior Cognitive Neuroscience Researcher at University College London, Dr Itiel Dror’s research has featured in The Economist and the journal, Nature.

He’s also presented at major learning events, offering an insight into the practical applications of cognitive neuroscience research.

Nigel PaineNigel Paine

20 years in L&D gives Nigel Paine the experience to apply the lessons of neuroscience to learning and development in a practical way.

His 2014 book, The Learning Challenge includes a section on neuroscience and learning which addresses many recent studies and how they relate to L&D.

Professor Uta FrithUta Frith

You may recognise Professor Uta Frith from BBC Horizon shows about autism and OCD. She also writes about general research into neuroscience in education.

K. Anders EricssonK Anders Ericsson

One of the foremost researchers on expertise, K. Anders Ericsson is Professor of Psychology at Florida State University.

For over 20 years, he’s been publishing on memory and skills learning, and his research has inspired bestsellers like Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.

He’s recently released his own book which includes explanations of the research and tips on how to stand out at work.

John MedinaJohn Medina

A bestselling author and brain scientist who explains why “we don’t know how the brain works”.

He has a great ability to cut through myths and present the real, peer-reviewed, research that could make a difference to how you approach learning.

Julie DirksenJulie Dirkson

Author of the must-read for book Design For How People Learn, Julie Dirksen often references brain science in her writing and speaking.

If you’re a learning designer who wants tips on incorporating learning research into your courses, this is a great place to start.

Daniel PinkDaniel Pink

Sometimes we want someone to take scientific research and wrap it in an accessible package. That’s what Daniel Pink’s book Drive did for research on motivation in the workplace.

Daniel Pink keeps up with social media and regularly makes new resources available on his website.

Even if you’ve already read the book, be sure to check out his latest content too.

Daniel WillinghamDaniel Willingham

Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, Daniel Willingham has written several books that L&D will find inspirational.

Daniel’s books are mostly education- based, highlighting how teachers and parents can improve children’s learning performance. L&D teams who deal with adult learners can also learn a lot from his work.

Adele DiamondAdele Diamond

Things like creativity, flexibility and thinking ‘outside the box’ are Adele Diamond’s speciality.

Much of her work is focused on learning in children but there are many aspects that can be applied to elearning at work.

Tom StaffordTom Stafford

When not lecturing in psychology and cognitive science at the University of Sheffield, Tom Stafford is a contributing author on the popular Mindhacks blog. His writing also appears on the BBC website and in The Guardian.

He has a very accessible writing style and often covers areas which will be useful for L&D teams  who want to apply neuroscience.

We’d love to know if you find this list useful and who you turn to for quality information and expertise on brain science topics.

 If there is anyone you think we should include on the list, let us know via @Sponge_UK on Twitter.

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