A Window to the Ulm Transfer Center for Neuroscience and Learning

 

Brain research meets the classroom

Situated in the town of Ulm (located on the Danube river in Germany, this is the birthplace of Albert Einstein), in a newly-converted army barracks near the University Hospital’s Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, is the world’s first transfer centre for neuroscience and learning.

The Transfer Center opened its doors in April 2004, and since then the multi-disciplinary research team has been purposefully engaged in conducting new, education-related scientific research, examining questions of educational relevance that range from preschool education to career changes and lifelong learning.

Teachers of different school types and educational institutions working in the Center are important players in the setting up of the experiments, which are carried out in controlled, but real, classroom settings. The scientists then examine the effectiveness of the results, before applying them in kindergartens, schools and other educational institutions.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) and a laboratory for Electroencephalography (EEG) allows the scientists to observe the brain, more or less directly, while it is in the process of learning. In this way, the impact of emotions on successful learning can be examined.

This close interaction of fundamental research and pedagogical application allows a quick and direct transfer of brain research findings to educational settings.

The Projects

There are currently over 20 projects being studied at the Transfer Center. These can be divided into the six major themes listed below (full descriptions of all the projects will be available shortly):

1. Language development and dyslexia

2. Emotions and Learning

3. Physical Activity and Learning 
4. Learning and Memory:
Consolidation: the Basic Mechanisms and the Influence of Different Scenarios
The acquisition of visual and action based knowledge

5. Factors of Successful Learning