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Science of Learning and Development

Science of Learning and Development

The science of learning and development (SoLD) refers to the growing body of research from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and other developmental and learning sciences, which tells an optimistic story about the potential of all learners. This evidence shows that the brain continues to develop throughout life as a product of relationships, environments, and experiences. Findings from this work have serious implications and powerful lessons for improving education. The foundations of the U.S. education system were built more than 100 years ago and were designed to select and sort—through segregation, unequal school funding, and tracking—rather than promote development and help every student access opportunities and reach their full potential. 

Using what we now know, educational leaders have the opportunity to apply the lessons from SoLD to design educational systems in which all individuals are able to take advantage of high-quality opportunities for transformative learning. The Learning Policy Institute advances and translates critical research insights for education policy and practice, grounded in the science of human learning and development. This encompasses work in a variety of fields, such as educator learning and preparation, pedagogy, and school systems design. For example, the framework below—the Guiding Principles of Whole Child Design—outlines the principles schools can use to apply the lessons of SoLD, reshaping their structures and practices to create learning environments in which every young person can thrive.

Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole Child Design