Why and how edtech should embrace science to optimise learning?

7 novembre 2018 - 4 minutes

Nawal Abboub,PHD

Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer @Risinguparis,
PhD Cognitive Neuroscience.

In the past few years, a growing number of startups and companies challenge the way we think our education and training system, with the creation of new revolutionary technological tools.


In France and abroad, we observe a huge enthusiasm around these « EdTech » (for the contraction of « education » and « technology »). These startups work vigorously , with this beautiful idea that we can create a positive impact on education though technology in both public and private organizations.


When we talk about education or training, we are talking about our learning abilities. These EdTech are thus trying to have a positive impact on learning, whether or not you are an adult or a child! Their job is to help you to learn more efficiently while keeping it enjoyable and fulfilling.  However, EdTechs can nowadays capitalize on science knowing that much scientific research on “Education” has been accumulated in the past decades! (1). We now specifically have good insights on how our brain is learning optimally.


Several research studies have identified factors or also called as « catalysts » which determine the speed and the easiness of learning (2). This knowledge, but also the scientific method, are for those who are producing EdTechs a treasure, which would help them to construct and/or optimize the quality of their product !


Yet, a good technical expertise is required to extract relevant information in this dense and complex scientific literature, which requires many years of study. That is why it is crucial that entrepreneurs, trainers, educators, and teachers work hand in hand with scientific experts if we want to create pedagogical product with a strong impact!


Science in EdTech, why and for what reasons?


Reason 1 : To improve the pedagogy and the quality of the product


Each pedagogy needs to be analyzed scientifically: where are its strongest points? What are the points where it needs to be optimized? Let’s transform the way that we are perceiving pedagogy, and focus on the methods that have been shown empirically to have the largest effects on learning! Let’s increase the « Ed » quality with evidence-based pedagogy. Let’s improve together quality of learning !


Reason 2 : To buy time


Let’s capitalize on science and its known methods and designs to implement “EdTech” products of high quality ! Let’s in particular use multimodal approaches, and take it to account how our brain is processing and encoding an visual or auditory information! Let’s boost the « Tech » with evidence-based design! Let’s make our technology powerful and efficient with simple interfaces, with relevant and flexible learning structures. Let’s buy time together with science !


Therefore, let’s transform the education system powerful and impactful pedagogical tool! We have the opportunity to do better, let’s do it together !

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(1) Sigman, M., Peña, M., Goldin, A. P., & Ribeiro, S. (2014). Neuroscience and education: Prime time to build the bridge. Nature Neuroscience, 17(4), 497–502. http://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3672

(2) Hirsh-Pasek, K., Zosh, J. M., Golinkoff, R. M., Gray, J. H., Robb, M. B., & Kaufman, J. (2015). Putting Education in “Educational” Apps: Lessons From the Science of Learning. Psychological Science in the Public Interest (Vol. 16). http://doi.org/10.1177/1529100615569721

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