ARC awards $16 million to new pathway for education

9 May 2013

Thursday 9 May 2013

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded $16 million dollars over four years for a Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC), a Special Research Initiative led by The University of Queensland (UQ) and involving researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), the School of Psychology and the School of Education.

The Centre will bring together researchers in education, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology from three lead institutions, UQ, the University of Melbourne, and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), as well as Flinders University, Deakin University, University of New England, Charles Darwin University, and Macquarie University to work with teachers to enhance our understanding of the learning process.

“The objectives of the SLRC are to identify, research and understand effective learning practices in the light of current knowledge about basic learning processes and factors that influence successful human learning”, says QBI Director, Professor Perry Bartlett:

“The establishment of the Science of Learning Research Centre will, for the first time, allow us to take what we know about how the brain learns and translate that into educational outcomes,” he said.

“A benchtop to blackboard approach is revolutionary for the learning community.”

The grant comes four years after the concept was recommended by the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council Expert Working Group, of which Professor Bartlett was a member, in their report, Transforming Learning and the Transmission of Knowledge.

This collaboration will establish new means to assess the impact of different types of learning and strategies to inform teaching practices to benefit all Australians.

The grant was led by Professor Ottmar Lipp from UQ’s School of Psychology, in cooperation with Professor Pankaj Sah, QBI, Professor John Hattie, University of Melbourne, and Dr Mike Timms, ACER.

Professor Lipp says the Centre will place learning at the focus of its research and develop an evidence based approach to educational practise.

“It is essential that this is done in collaboration between researchers from different disciplines on the one side and practitioners on the other. This collaboration will be facilitated by the centerpieces of the Centre, two experimental classrooms one at The University of Queensland and one at the University of Melbourne”.

In addition to the 8 research organisations, the Science of Learning Research Centre is supported by 9 partner organisations, including the Queensland Department of Education and Training, Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development, Questacon, North Carolina State University, Institute of Education, London, Carnegie Mellon University, University College London, and the Benevolent Society.

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