Its great news for learners everywhere that scientists are building more technology to help improve learning capacity.
The latest example of this is Neuroscape Labs at the University of California in San Francisco. Led by neuroscientist, Professor Adam Gazzaley, a team at Neuroscape Labs is developing four video games designed to help children with learning.
These games will be evaluated in 2015 by testing with children and young adults. The testing is expected to take a year to complete.
Improving older brains
Professor Gazzaley and his team have already developed a 3D car racing game to improve short-term memory, long-term focus and multi-tasking for older people. The results of this game which were published in the science journal, Nature, showed that people as old as 80 were able to change their brain patterns to the same as 20 year olds.
A new approach to education
"Our research is looking at how the tools we are using impact the developing brain as a new approach to education," said Professor Gazzaley. "We can do a lot more on an iPad than we can with a textbook."
Neuroscape Labs are joining other research based developers of learning technologies that use neuroscience to build learning capacity, not only to help struggling learners but also to make good learners even better.
The pioneer in this field is Scientific Learning Corporation whose neuroscientists first developed the Fast ForWord program about 15 years ago. Since then, over 2 million students worldwide have use the Fast ForWord exercises, and over 250 studies have been completed on their effectiveness.
More recently, neuroscients in Sweden created the first technology to specifically target working memory. They called their program Cogmed, which is now used in schools and by students at home to improve working memory, a thinking skill critical for successful learning.
Learning capacity is entering the awareness of educators
Thanks to the work of these and other groups, the concept of "learning capacity" is becoming more understood by educators and parents.
Imagine if (when?) all students have the opportunity to use these tools to optimise their learning capacity in their first few years of primary school. What differences would this make to their learning outcomes, the success of their schools and ultimately to our economies and communities.