Discussion, conclusions and implications of brain-based learning

Q. Discussion, conclusions and implications.

Like in the constructivist approach, in brain-based learning the construction of knowledge, meaningful learning, encouragement of students to construct knowledge based on their previous experiences, is encouraged.

According to both approaches, individual differences may exist both in the construction and interpretation of knowledge.

These differences should be taken into consideration during the teaching and evaluation processes.

In this study, the brain-based and constructivist approaches were analyzed comparatively and the relationship between them as well as the parallelism was expressed in terms of five overlapping principles.

Figure 1. The overlapping principles between brain-based and constructivist learning approaches.


According to our analysis, brain-based learning is overlapping with constructivist learning to a great extent.

Approaching this issue with a critical perspective, Bruer (1999) argues that brain-based learning does not offer anything different than constructivist learning.

This study supports Bruer’s argument to a great extent.

However, a different perspective has been employed.

It is possible to say that rather than being a conflict, this overlap is quite meaningful in the field of education, both in theory and in practice.

First of all, in a sense, the brain-based learning approach provides an account of many constructivist learning principles.

It tends to explain the methods used for teaching in a cause-effect relationship.

The approach does this by relating brain research with implications for education).

There are claims that educators have been using these teaching strategies for years without knowing about brain-based learning.

However, “it’s also true that if educators don’t know why they do what they do, their actions are less purposeful and professional” (Jensen, 2000).

Secondly, brain-based and constructivist learning approaches have emerged out of two different fields but had commonalities in their implications for education.

In both approaches, the research providing base for the implications has been done in different disciplines and with different methodologies within different paradigms.

While the core of the brain-based learning approach consists of brain research in neurosciences, the essence of the constructivist learning approach is research in philosophy, psychology and education. In other words, these two approaches stem from two different paradigms, quantitative and qualitative, the assumptions of which are different and which may be perceived as in conflict.

Quantitative paradigm requires that quantitative methods such as experiments are used, qualitative paradigm suggests methods such as interviewing and participant observation in traditions like phenomenology and ethnography.

Although the qualitative paradigm has developed as a counter paradigm to the quantitative, the fact that these two paradigms perceive reality differently does not mean that they oppose each other. Their difference does not form any hierarchy.

Instead of arguing the dominance of one over the other, taking the powerful aspects of both to advance the sciences would result in the efficient use of time and reasoning.

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